Hendi et al v. State of Nevada on relation of the Private Investigators Licensing Board et al

Filing 17

ORDER that ECF No. 4 Motion to Dismiss is granted. The Court dismisses the complaint without prejudice. Amended Complaint due by 1/6/2018. Signed by Judge Larry R. Hicks on 12/7/2017. (Copies have been distributed pursuant to the NEF - LH)

Download PDF
1 2 3 4 5 6 UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT 7 DISTRICT OF NEVADA 8 9 MAHMOUD HENDI and ESI SECURITY SERVICES, INC., *** Case No. 3:17-cv-00633-LRH-VPC 10 ORDER Plaintiffs, 11 v. 12 13 14 STATE OF NEVADA ON RELATION OF THE PRIVATE INVESTIGATORS LICENSING BOARD, KEVIN INGRAM, LORI IRIZARRY, JASON WOODRUFF, 15 Defendants. 16 Defendants State of Nevada on relation of the Private Investigators Licensing Board 17 18 (“Board”), Kevin Ingram, Lori Irizarry, and Jason Woodruff move to dismiss plaintiffs 19 Mahmoud Hendi and ESI Security, Inc.’s complaint. ECF No. 4. The plaintiffs opposed the 20 motion, and the defendants filed a reply. ECF Nos. 8, 12. The court now grants the motion to 21 dismiss, finding the complaint fails to meaningfully distinguish between the multiple defendants 22 in regards to the five claims for relief and the multiple plaintiffs in regards to the alleged 23 damages. 24 I. 25 BACKGROUND Hendi owns ESI Security, which provides private security services for businesses, 26 individuals, and special events. ECF. No. 1, Ex. 2. Because ESI Security offers services 27 including private patrol officers, it is regulated by the Board. Id. Ingram serves as the Board’s 28 1 1 executive director, and Irizarry serves as the Board’s deputy executive director. Id. Woodruff 2 works as an investigator for the Board. Id. 3 Hendi and ESI Security sues the Board, Ingram, Irizarry, and Woodruff, alleging five 4 causes of actions: (1) intentional interference with contractual relations, (2) interference with 5 prospective business advantage, (3) violation of 42 U.S.C. § 1983 based on the Privileges and 6 Immunities Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment, (4) injunctive relief, and (5) defamation per 7 se. Id. 8 The claims stem from occurrences related to an administrative proceeding held by the 9 Board. See id. ESI Security accrued several notices of violations from the Board, prompting it to 10 enter into a settlement agreement to resolve the notices. Id. Under the settlement agreement, ESI 11 Security agreed to pay certain fines and attorney fees according to a schedule outlined in the 12 agreement. Id. It also agreed to an eighteen-month probationary period, during which ESI 13 Security agreed to surrender its license if it were found guilty upon any new notices of violations 14 by way of a hearing in front of the Board. Id. 15 A few months later, ESI Security received a new notice of violations because its sister 16 company failed to register an employee with the Board. Id. ESI Security sought a hearing before 17 the Board. Id. A complaint was then served on ESI Security, alleging that ESI Security failed to 18 make timely payments under the settlement agreement and requesting that ESI Security’s license 19 be revoked. Id. 20 Sometime thereafter, the defendants allegedly contacted ESI Security’s existing and 21 prospective customers. Id. The defendants allegedly communicated to the customers that ESI 22 Security: (1) was going to lose its license; (2) was using non-registered employees, (3) was 23 overcharging for its services, and (4) was understaffing in violation of a contract. Id. The 24 defendants then allegedly advised ESI Security’s customers to seek a different company for 25 security services. Id. 26 The Board then conducted a hearing on both the notice of violations and the allegedly 27 late payments. Id. It eventually found ESI Security guilty of the new violations but declined to 28 revoke ESI Security’s license. Id. The Board also found that ESI Security did not make untimely 2 1 payments. Id. The Board ultimately ordered ESI Security to pay a fine and reasonable attorney 2 fees. Id. ESI Security has appealed the decision. Id. 3 II. LEGAL STANDARD Despite the matter initially being filed in state court, Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 4 5 12(b)(6) governs this matter. See Faulkner v. ADT Sec. Servs., Inc., 706 F.3d 1017, 1021 (9th 6 Cir. 2013) (citing Kearns v. Ford Motor Co., 567 F.3d 1120, 1125 (9th Cir. 2009)). A party may seek the dismissal of a complaint under Rule 12(b)(6) for failure to state a 7 8 legally cognizable cause of action. See Fed. R. Civ. P. 12(b)(6) (stating that a party may file a 9 motion to dismiss for “failure to state a claim upon which relief can be granted[.]”). To survive a 10 motion to dismiss for failure to state a claim, a complaint must satisfy the notice pleading 11 standard of Federal Rule 8(a)(2). See Mendiondo v. Centinela Hosp. Med. Ctr., 521 F.3d 1097, 12 1103 (9th Cir. 2008). Under Rule 8(a)(2), a complaint must contain “a short and plain statement 13 of the claim showing that the pleader is entitled to relief.” Fed. R. Civ. P. 8(a)(2). Rule 8(a)(2) 14 does not require detailed factual allegations; however, a pleading that offers only “‘labels and 15 conclusions’ or ‘a formulaic recitation of the elements of a cause of action’” is insufficient and 16 fails to meet this broad pleading standard. Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009) (quoting 17 Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555 (2007)). To sufficiently allege a claim under Rule 8(a)(2), viewed within the context of a 18 19 Rule 12(b)(6) motion to dismiss, a complaint must “contain sufficient factual matter, accepted as 20 true, to ‘state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face.’” Id. (quoting Twombly, 550 U.S. at 21 570). A claim has facial plausibility when the pleaded factual content allows the court to draw 22 the reasonable inference, based on the court’s judicial experience and common sense, that the 23 defendant is liable for the alleged misconduct. See id. at 678-679 (stating that “[t]he plausibility 24 standard is not akin to a probability requirement, but it asks for more than a sheer possibility that 25 a defendant has acted unlawfully. Where a complaint pleads facts that are merely consistent with 26 a defendant’s liability, it stops short of the line between possibility and plausibility of entitlement 27 to relief.”) (internal quotation marks and citations omitted). 28 /// 3 1 Further, in reviewing a motion to dismiss, the court accepts the factual allegations in the 2 complaint as true. Id. However, bare assertions in a complaint amounting “to nothing more than 3 a formulaic recitation of the elements of a . . . claim . . . are not entitled to an assumption of 4 truth.” Moss v. U.S. Secret Serv., 572 F.3d 962, 969 (9th Cir. 2009) (quoting Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 5 698) (internal quotation marks omitted). The court discounts these allegations because “they do 6 nothing more than state a legal conclusion—even if that conclusion is cast in the form of a 7 factual allegation.” Id. “In sum, for a complaint to survive a motion to dismiss, the non- 8 conclusory ‘factual content,’ and reasonable inferences from that content, must be plausibly 9 suggestive of a claim entitling the plaintiff to relief.” Id. 10 III. DISCUSSION 11 The defendants first argue the complaint must be dimissed because it fails to distinguish 12 between the individual defendants and the individual plaintiffs in regards to the multiple claims 13 and alleged damages. ECF No. 4 at 4. The court agrees and therefore does not address the 14 defendants’ remaining arguments for dismissal. 15 The complaint inadequately notices the defendants of which legal claims are asserted 16 against them by failing to distinguish between the multiple defendants and the multiple plaintiffs 17 in the factual allegations. “Courts consistently conclude that undifferentiated pleading against 18 multiple defendants is improper.” Dunson v. Cordis Corp., No. 16-cv-03076-SI, 2016 WL 19 3913666, at *3 (N.D. Cal. July 20, 2016) (internal citations and quotations omitted); see also 20 Volcano Developers LLC v. Bonneville Mortg., No. 2:11-cv-00504-GMN, 2012 WL 28838, at *5 21 (D. Nev. Jan. 4, 2012). In the complaint, the plaintiffs consistently attribute the factual 22 allegations to “defendants” or “individual defendants.” See ECF No. 1, Ex. 2. The plaintiffs also 23 allege damages to the “plaintiffs” in general rather than distinguishing how Hendi, an individual, 24 was harmed versus how ESI Security, a business, was harmed. Id. Further, the plaintiffs also fail 25 to indicate against whom each cause of action is asserted. Id. The court therefore dismisses the 26 complaint for failing to adequately inform each defendant of the claims against them due to the 27 undifferentiated nature of the allegations in the complaint. See McHenry v. Renne, 84 F.3d 1172, 28 1176 (9th Cir. 1996) (affirming the dismissal of an undifferentiated complaint for its failure to 4 1 “‘provide defendants with a fair opportunity to frame a responsive pleading.’” (quoting the 2 district court’s order of dismissal). 3 IV. 4 CONCLUSION IT IS THEREFORE ORDERED that the State of Nevada on relation of the Private 5 Investigators Licensing Board, Kevin Ingram, Lori Irizarry, and Jason Woodruff’s motion to 6 dismiss (ECF No. 4) is GRANTED. The court dismisses the complaint without prejudice. 7 8 IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that Mahmoud Hendi and ESI Security, Inc. may have thirty days from the entry of this order to file an amended complaint. 9 10 IT IS SO ORDERED. 11 DATED this 7th day of December, 2017. 12 13 LARRY R. HICKS UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 5

Disclaimer: Justia Dockets & Filings provides public litigation records from the federal appellate and district courts. These filings and docket sheets should not be considered findings of fact or liability, nor do they necessarily reflect the view of Justia.

Why Is My Information Online?