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Comfort Inn Oceanside v. the Hertz Corporation

November 1, 2011


The opinion of the court was delivered by: John Gleeson, United States District Judge:

Plaintiff Comfort Inn Oceanside ("Comfort Inn") brings this action for breach of contract against The Hertz Corporation ("Hertz"). Hertz moves to dismiss Comfort Inn's amended complaint, pursuant to Rule 12(b)(6) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, for failure to sufficiently plead the breach of contract claim. For the reasons below, the motion is granted and the amended complaint is dismissed without prejudice.


A. Factual Background*fn1

By letter dated April 19, 2005, Hertz submitted a proposed contract (the "Agreement") to Comfort Inn, a hotel located in Deerfield Beach, Florida. Under the terms of the Agreement, Hertz would become the "exclusive provider" of rental cars to Comfort Inn and its guests. Agreement 1. Hertz offered service guarantees, a 10% commission of the rental revenues generated from the Comfort Inn, discounted rentals to Comfort Inn employees and "30 comp days per month," i.e., daily rentals free of charge, "to senior management in South Florida upon request." Id. at 1--2. In exchange for all this, the Agreement required Comfort Inn to "recommend Hertz to all guests for car rental needs" and Comfort Inn's employees to make "[e]very effort . . . to promote the relationship" established in the Agreement. Id. at 1.

Hertz's branch manager had signed the Agreement on behalf of Hertz on April 19, 2005. The following day, April 20, 2005, Comfort Inn's president signed the Agreement and sent it to Hertz via fax.

Hertz "immediately" breached the agreement by failing to provide cars to hotel staff and guests and failing to "establish a business presence" at the hotel. Am. Compl. ¶ 4; see also id. ¶ 2. Comfort Inn was not given a "company car" and lost revenues, causing damages in the total amount of $102,240. Id. ¶ 1.*fn2 Of this amount, $93,600 resulted from Hertz's failure to provide a company car and $8,640 resulted in a loss of revenues due to the lack of cars provided for hotel residents. Id. ¶ 8.

B. Procedural Background

Comfort Inn commenced this action against Hertz in the Supreme Court of the State of New York, Kings County on January 28, 2011. In its complaint, Comfort Inn asserted a single claim for breach of contract. Hertz removed the action to this Court on March 29, 2011, on the grounds that the parties' had diverse citizenship and the amount in controversy exceeded $75,000.

After removal, Hertz requested a pre-motion conference with respect to an anticipated motion to dismiss the original complaint.*fn3 Hertz also moved for a stay of any court-annexed arbitration proceedings while its anticipated motion to dismiss was pending.*fn4 During the pre-motion conference, I directed Comfort Inn to file an amended complaint.
The amended complaint consists of two pages containing eight numbered paragraphs. Attached to the amended complaint are the Agreement (which is itself two pages) and two photographs taken in the hotel's lobby purporting to show the lack of any Hertz presence there.*fn5 Excluding portions of the amended complaint identifying the parties and bases for jurisdiction and other technical matters, the allegations in the amended complaint are:

1. This action is regarding the breach of a contract by [Hertz] that resulted in a (1) loss of a company car and

(2) loss of revenues, causing damages in the total amount of $102,240.00. . . . .

2. [Hertz] had a contract with the plaintiff to provide rental cars for the hotel residents of the property known as Comfort Inn Oceanside as well as a rental company car for the staff. Such cars were not provided. . . .

4. An agreement dated April 19, 2005, (Exhibit "A") in which the defendant was to provide rental cars to the plaintiff, for the use of hotel staff and residents, was breached on April 19, 2005 due to the failure of the defendant to immediately provide such cars as per the contract and establish a business presence there so that persons staying at the hotel could also rent cars. Such agreement was signed in Brooklyn, New York by [Comfort Inn], by its president, Joseph Tomasino.

5. Because of this behavior by the defendant[], we request a judgment in the amount of $102,240.00

6. Plaintiff would be irreparably harmed if such relief were not granted. . . . .

8. [Hertz], due to its breach of contract, caused the plaintiff to suffer a total of $102,240.00 in damages. This total is based on (1) a lack of providing a company car, causing $93,600.00 in damages and (2) loss of revenue due to lack of providing cars for hotel residents, causing a loss in revenues approximating $8,640.00 in damages.

Am. Compl. ...

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