United States District Court, N.D. Texas, Dallas Division
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
FISH, SENIOR UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
the court is the motion for a more definite statement under
Rule 12(e) and the motion to dismiss for failure to state a
claim under Rule 12(b)(6) filed by the defendant (docket
entry 4). For the reasons stated below, the motions are
breach of contract action arises out of an automobile retail
installment contract entered into between the plaintiff,
Santander Consumer USA, Inc. (“Santander”), and
the defendant, Homer Skelton Enterprises, Inc.
(“Skelton”). See Plaintiff's
Original Petition (“Original Petition”)
¶¶ 6-7 (docket entry 1-4). Santander is in the
business of purchasing automobile retail installment sales
contracts from automobile dealerships such as Skelton.
Id. ¶ 6. Santander and Skelton entered into a
non-recourse dealer retail agreement, which governs the
assignment of contracts relating to various aspects of
automobile sales from Skelton to Santander. Id.
¶ 7. Santander commenced this action alleging that
Skelton breached the agreement. Id. at 3-6.
Specifically, Santander alleged that Skelton failed to
disclose damage to vehicles, misrepresented vehicle equipment
options, failed to pay the agreed-upon amount in the event of
customer cancellations, and failed to repurchase contracts
where it misrepresented customers' income and credit
information in contravention of the agreement. See id.
January 31, 2017, Santander commenced this action in the
191st Judicial District Court of Dallas County, Texas. Notice
of Removal (“Notice”) at 1 (docket entry 1).
Skelton timely removed the case to federal court on February
27, 2017. Id. On March 6, 2017, Skelton filed the
instant motion to dismiss. Defendant's Motion for More
Definite Statement and Motion to Dismiss (docket entry 4);
Brief in Support of Defendant's Motion for More Definite
Statement and Motion to Dismiss (“Defendant's
Brief”) (docket entry 5). On March 31, 2017, Santander
filed a timely response to which Skelton Enterprises filed a
timely reply. Plaintiff's Objection and Response to
Defendant's Motion for More Definite Statement and Motion
to Dismiss (“Plaintiff's Response”) (docket
entry 13); Reply to Plaintiff's Response to
Defendant's Motion for More Definite Statement and Motion
to Dismiss for Failure to State a Claim
(“Defendant's Reply”) (docket entry 14). The
motion is now ripe for decision.
Rule 12(e) Motion for a More Definite Statement
party moves under Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(e) for a more definite
statement, the court is afforded discretion to determine
whether the complaint is such that a party cannot reasonably
be required to frame a responsive pleading. Mitchell v.
E-Z Way Towers, Inc., 269 F.2d 126, 130 (5th Cir. 1959);
Bruce v. Gore, No. 3:10-CV-2173-G, 2012 WL 987556,
at *1 (N.D. Tex. Mar. 22, 2012) (Fish, J.). A more definite
statement of a pleading is required when the pleading
“is so vague or ambiguous that the party cannot
reasonably prepare a response.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(e).
Fed.R.Civ.P. 8(a)(2) requires that a claimant give “a
short and plain statement of the claim showing that the
pleader is entitled to relief.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 8(a)(2).
Under Fed.R.Civ.P. 8(a)(2), a plaintiff's complaint is
not required to set out detailed facts about the claim;
rather, it need only notify the defendant as to the nature of
the claim against it and the grounds upon which that claim
rests. See Charles E. Beard, Inc. v. Cameronics
Technology Corporation, 120 F.R.D. 40, 41 (E.D. Tex.
1988), aff'd sub. nom., Charles E. Beard,
Inc. v. McDonnell Douglas Corp., 939 F.2d 280 (5th Cir.
1991). Here, the court concludes that the complaint is not so
vague that Skelton cannot reasonably respond to it. Thus,
Skelton's motion for a more definite statement is denied.
Rule 12(b)(6) Motion to Dismiss
survive a Rule 12(b)(6) motion to dismiss, the plaintiff must
plead ‘enough facts to state a claim to relief that is
plausible on its face.'” In re Katrina Canal
Breaches Litigation, 495 F.3d 191, 205 (5th Cir. 2007)
(quoting Bell Atlantic Corporation v. Twombly, 550
U.S. 544, 570 (2007)), cert. denied, 552 U.S. 1182
(2008). “While a complaint attacked by a Rule 12(b)(6)
motion to dismiss does not need detailed factual allegations,
a plaintiff's obligation to provide the grounds of his
entitlement to relief requires more than labels and
conclusions, and a formulaic recitation of the elements of a
cause of action will not do.” Twombly, 550
U.S. at 555 (internal quotation marks, brackets, and citation
omitted). “Factual allegations must be enough to raise
a right to relief above the speculative level, on the
assumption that all the allegations in the complaint are true
(even if doubtful in fact).” In re Katrina
Canal, 495 F.3d at 205 (quoting Twombly,
550 U.S. at 555) (internal quotation marks omitted).
“The court accepts all well-pleaded facts as true,
viewing them in the light most favorable to the
plaintiff.” Id. (quoting Martin K. Eby
Construction Company, Inc. v. Dallas Area Rapid Transit,
369 F.3d 464, 467 (5th Cir. 2004)) (internal quotation marks
Supreme Court has prescribed a “two-pronged
approach” to determine whether a complaint fails to
state a claim under Rule 12(b)(6). See Ashcroft v.
Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678-79 (2009). The court must
“begin by identifying the pleadings that, because they
are no more than conclusions, are not entitled to the
assumption of truth.” Id. at 679. The court
should then assume the veracity of any well-pleaded
allegations and “determine whether they plausibly give
rise to an entitlement of relief.” Id. The
plausibility principle does not convert the Rule 8(a)(2)
notice pleading standard to a “probability requirement,
” but “a sheer possibility that a defendant has
acted unlawfully” will not defeat a motion to dismiss.
Id. at 678. The plaintiff must “plead
factual content that allows the court to draw the reasonable
inference that the defendant is liable for the misconduct
alleged.” Id. “[W]here the well-pleaded
facts do not permit the court to infer more than the mere
possibility of misconduct, the complaint has alleged -- but
it has not ‘show[n]' -- ‘that the pleader is
entitled to relief.'” Id. at 679
(alteration in original) (quoting Fed.R.Civ.P. 8(a)(2)). The
court, drawing on its judicial experience and common sense,
must undertake the “context-specific task” of
determining whether the plaintiff's allegations
“nudge” its claims “across the line from
conceivable to plausible.” See id. at 679,
Whether the Court Should Consider the Document Attached