United States District Court, D. Idaho
CESAR MARTINEZ-RODRIGUEZ; DALIA PADILLA-LOPEZ; MAYRA MUNOZ-LARA; BRENDA GASTELUM-SIERRA; LESLIE ORTIZ-GARCIA; and RICARDO NERI-CAMACHO, Plaintiffs,
CURTIS GILES, an individual; DAVID FUNK, an individual; and JEREMY L. PITTARD, an individual; the business they controlled and/or operated, including FUNK DAIRY, INC., an Idaho corporation; SHOESOLE FARMS, INC., an Idaho corporation, and JEREMY L. PITTARD, ATTORNEY AT LAW, PLLC, an Idaho Limited Liability Company; and DOES 1-10, Defendants.
MEMORANDUM DECISION AND ORDER
C. Nye, United States District Court
before the Court is a joint Motion to Dismiss filed by
Defendants Jeremy L. Pittard, an individual, and Jeremy L.
Pittard, Attorney at Law, PLLC (Collectively
“Pittard”). Dkt. 13. Having reviewed the record
and briefs, the Court finds that the facts and legal
arguments are adequately presented. Accordingly, in the
interest of avoiding further delay, and because the Court
finds that the decisional process would not be significantly
aided by oral argument, the Court will decide the motion
without oral argument. Dist. Idaho Loc. Civ. R.
7.1(d)(2)(ii). For the reasons set forth below the Court
GRANTS the Motion.
are six professional veterinarians from Mexico who allege
that Defendants have engaged in a “criminal conspiracy
to bring Mexican nationals to the United States illegally for
the purpose of forced labor.” Complaint, ¶1. Based
on this allegation, Plaintiffs assert claims of Forced Labor
and Trafficking into Servitude under the Trafficking Victims
Protection Reauthorization Act (18 U.S.C. §§ 1589,
1590, and 1595) and civil claims under the Racketeer
Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO).
speaking, Plaintiffs assert that Defendants conspired to
recruit professional Mexican veterinarians to work in the
United States under the false pretense that they would be
professional animal scientists, only to be hired as low-wage,
general laborers at Funk Dairy, Inc, . Id.
Plaintiffs allege that these acts violated U.S. immigration
laws. They also assert that they were subjected to long
working hours under arduous conditions and forced to stay
under threat of deportation, fear, and unfamiliarity with the
English language and American legal system. Id.
allege that as part of this conspiracy, Jeremy Pittard, the
owner of Jeremy L. Pittard, Attorney at Law, PLLC,
“aided and abetted” (complaint, ¶3) the
other named Defendants by reviewing the visas Plaintiffs
filed and by speaking with Plaintiffs prior to their United
States Embassy interviews. Complaint, ¶37, ¶40.
Believing that these allegations fall short of the standard
required to state a plausible claim for relief, Pittard filed
the instant Motion to Dismiss.
motion to dismiss for failure to state a claim challenges the
legal sufficiency of the claims stated in the complaint.
Conservation Force v. Salazar, 646 F.3d 1240, 1242
(9th Cir.2011). “A complaint generally must satisfy the
notice pleading requirements of Federal Rule of Civil
Procedure 8(a)(2) to avoid dismissal under a Rule 12(b)(6)
motion.” Id. (citing Porter v. Jones,
319 F.3d 483, 494 (9th Cir.2003)). “Federal Rule of
Civil Procedure 8(a)(2) requires only ‘a short and
plain statement of the claim showing that the pleader is
entitled to relief, ' in order to ‘give the
defendant fair notice of what the . . . claim is and the
grounds upon which it rests.' ” Bell Atl. Corp.
v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544(2007) (quoting Conley v.
Gibson, 355 U.S. 41, 47 (1957)).
sufficiently state a claim for relief and survive a 12(b)(6)
motion, the pleading “does not need detailed factual
allegations, ” however, the “[f]actual
allegations must be enough to raise a right to relief above
the speculative level.” Id. at 555. Mere
“labels and conclusions” or a “formulaic
recitation of the elements of a cause of action will not
do.” Id. Rather, there must be “enough
facts to state a claim to relief that is plausible on its
face.” Id. at 570. In other words, the
complaint must contain sufficient factual matter, accepted as
true, to state a claim to relief that is plausible on its
face. Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009).
light of Twombly and Iqbal, the Ninth
Circuit summarized the governing standard as follows:
“In sum, for a complaint to survive a motion to
dismiss, the nonconclusory factual content, and reasonable
inferences from that content, must be plausibly suggestive of
a claim entitling the plaintiff to relief.” Moss v.
U.S. Secret Serv., 572 F.3d 962, 969 (9th Cir. 2009).
deciding whether to grant a motion to dismiss, the court must
accept as true all well-pleaded factual allegations in the
pleading under attack. Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 663. A
court is not, however, “required to accept as true
allegations that are merely conclusory, unwarranted
deductions of fact, or unreasonable inferences.”
Sprewell v. Golden State Warriors, 266 F.3d 979, 988
(9th Cir. 2001).
ruling on a motion to dismiss, the court must normally
convert a Rule 12(b)(6) motion into one for summary judgment
under Rule 56 if the court considers evidence outside of the
pleadings. United States v. Ritchie, 342 F.3d 903,
907 (9th Cir.2003). However, a court may consider certain
materials, such as documents attached to the complaint,
documents incorporated by reference in the complaint, or
matters properly subject to judicial notice, without
converting the motion to dismiss into a motion for summary
judgment. Id. at 908.
cases decided after Iqbal and Twombly, the
Ninth Circuit has continued to adhere to the rule that a
dismissal of a complaint without leave to amend is
inappropriate unless it is beyond doubt that the complaint
could not be saved by an amendment. See Harris v. Amgen,
Inc., 573 F.3d 728, 737 (9th Cir. 2009) (issued two
months after Iqbal).
case, the Court finds that the allegations against Pittard do
not rise above the speculative level, Twombly, 550
U.S. at 555, and are not sufficiently supported by
“nonconclusory factual content, and reasonable
inferences” to survive a motion to dismiss.
Moss, 572 F.3d at 969.
first allegation against Pittard is that “on or about
September 17, 2014, Defendant Giles confirmed that his
attorney Jeremy Pittard had reviewed and approved those
documents.” Complaint, ¶37. “Those
documents” refers to Plaintiffs' U.S. Department of
State Form DS-160 questionnaires and other visa/immigration
are two problems with this first allegation. First, this
claim is based upon what one defendant said about another
defendant. Plaintiffs have no independent knowledge of the
truthfulness of this statement. Second, even taking the
allegation as true, there is no reasonable inference that