Ronaldo Designer Jewelry, Inc. v. Cox et al
ORDER granting 92 Motion to Dismiss for Failure to State a Claim; Counts XI through XV of the Coxes' counterclaims are DISMISSED without prejudice; the Coxes may file amended counterclaims as to the counts dismissed within 21 days. Signed by District Judge Debra M. Brown on 3/16/18. (jla)
IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE NORTHERN DISTRICT OF MISSISSIPPI
RONALDO DESIGNER JEWELRY, INC.
JAMES B. COX and CATHERINE A. COX
d/b/a JC DESIGNS d/b/a WIRE N RINGS
and JOHN DOE a/k/a LEROY and JOHN
DOES Numbers 1 through 99
Before the Court is Ronaldo Designer Jewelry Inc.’s “Motion for Partial Dismissal of
Defendants’ Counterclaim.” Doc. #92.
Relevant Procedural History1
On April 28, 2017, Ronaldo Designer Jewelry, Inc., with leave of the Court, filed a second
amended complaint against James and Catherine Cox. Doc. #82. The three-count complaint
seeks injunctive and monetary relief for the Coxes’ production of jewelry which allegedly infringes
on Ronaldo’s intellectual property.
On May 12, 2017, the Coxes answered the second amended complaint. Doc. #87. The
Coxes’ answer includes fifteen counterclaims: (1) “Trademark Infringement in Violation of the
Lanham Act” (Count I); (2) “False Designation of Origin in Violation of the Lanham Act” (Count
II); (3) “Declaratory Judgment of Invalidity and Unenforceability of Ronaldo Designer Jewelry,
Inc.’s Trade Dress” (Count III); (4) “Declaratory Judgment of Non-Infringement of Trade Dress”
(Count IV); (5) “Declaratory Judgment of Invalidity and Unenforceability of Copyright in Power
of Prayer Bracelet” (Count V); (6) “Declaratory Judgment of Invalidity and Unenforceability of
A more detailed procedural history may be found in this Court’s September 5, 2017, order. See Doc. #98.
Copyright in Angelina Bracelet” (Count VI); (7) “Declaratory Judgment of Non-Infringement of
Angelina Bracelet” (Count VII); (8) “Declaratory Judgment of Non-Infringement of Power of
Prayer Bracelet” (Count VIII); (9) “Unfair Competition in Violation of the Lanham Act” (Count
IX); (10) “Unjust Enrichment under Mississippi Common Law” (Count X); (11) “Unfair
Competition under Mississippi Common Law” (Count XI); (12) “Tortious Interference with
Actual Business Relations” (Count XII); (13) “Tortious Interference with Prospective Business
Relations” (Count XIII); (14) “Deceptive Trade and Business Practices in Violation of Mississippi
Law” (Count XIV); and (15) “Defamation/Slander” (Count XV).
On June 16, 2017, after receiving a requested extension to respond to the counterclaims,
Ronaldo filed a motion to dismiss Counts XI through XV of the Coxes’ counterclaims for failure
to state a claim. Doc. #92. The Coxes responded in opposition to the motion on June 29, 2017.
Doc. #95. Ronaldo replied on July 6, 2017. Doc. #96.
“To survive a Rule 12(b)(6) motion to dismiss, the complaint does not need detailed factual
allegations, but it must provide the plaintiff's grounds for entitlement for relief—including factual
allegations that, when assumed to be true, raise a right to relief above the speculative level.” Ruiz
v. Brennan, 851 F.3d 464, 468 (5th Cir. 2017). Under this standard, a court must “accept all wellpleaded facts as true.” New Orleans City v. Ambac Assurance Corp., 815 F.3d 196, 199–200 (5th
Cir. 2016) (quotation marks omitted).
In its motion to dismiss, Ronaldo, referencing the Coxes’ specific allegations and relevant
law, argues that: (1) Count XI and Count XIV must be dismissed for lack of statutory standing
and failure to satisfy the relevant statute’s informal dispute resolution prerequisite; (2) Counts XII
and XIII must be dismissed for failure to plead the requirements of tortious interference claims;
and (3) Count XV must be dismissed for failure to plead the elements of defamation or slander
with requisite specificity. Doc. #93.
In response, the Coxes argue only:
Here, Mr. and Mrs. Cox believe that they have stated claims upon which relief can
be granted against Ronald Company in their Counts XI through XV of their
Counterclaims. They believe the allegations stated in Counts XI through XV are
sufficient to place Ronaldo Company on notice of the asserted counterclaims. They
believe the allegations have satisfied the requirements of Rule 8(a) of the Federal
Rules of Civil Procedure. Accordingly, Mr. and Mrs. Cox respectfully request that
the Court dismiss Ronaldo Company’s Partial Motion to Dismiss Counts XI
through XV of the Counterclaims. Alternatively, if the Court deems the information
pled in the Counterclaims to be deficient, then Mr. and Mrs. Cox request that the
Court grant them additional time and leave to amend their Counterclaims to state
their claims with greater particularity.
Doc. #95 at 4.
The Local Rules of this Court prohibit the granting of a dispositive motion on the grounds
of non-opposition. L.U. Civ. R. 7(b)(3)(E). However, “[c]ourts have consistently held that
inadequate briefing results in a waiver of a party’s arguments.” TGIP, Inc. v. AT&T Corp., 512
F.Supp.2d 696, 712 (E.D. Tex. 2007) (collecting cases).
The Court concludes that the Coxes’ wholly inadequate briefing amounts to a waiver of
their arguments regarding the viability of Counts XI through XV, as pled. Accordingly, the
motion to dismiss will be granted. Such dismissal, however, will be without prejudice and with
leave to amend. See Great Plains Tr. Co. v. Morgan Stanley Dean Witter & Co., 313 F.3d 305,
329 (5th Cir. 2002) (“In view of the consequences of dismissal on the complaint alone, and the
pull to decide cases on the merits rather than on the sufficiency of pleadings, district courts often
afford plaintiffs at least one opportunity to cure pleading deficiencies before dismissing a case,
unless it is clear that the defects are incurable or the plaintiffs advise the court that they are
unwilling or unable to amend in a manner that will avoid dismissal.”).
For the reasons above, Ronaldo’s motion to dismiss  is GRANTED. Counts XI
through XV of the Coxes’ counterclaims are DISMISSED without prejudice. The Coxes may
file amended counterclaims as to the counts dismissed within twenty-one (21) days from the date
of this order.
SO ORDERED, this 16th day of March, 2018.
/s/Debra M. Brown
UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
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