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Dayton Superior Corp v. Spa Steel Products

January 13, 2012

DAYTON SUPERIOR CORP., PLAINTIFF,
v.
SPA STEEL PRODUCTS, INC., DEFENDANT.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Scullin, Senior Judge

MEMORANDUM-DECISION AND ORDER

I. INTRODUCTION

Currently before the Court is Plaintiff's motion to dismiss Defendant's first and third amended counterclaims against it for antitrust violations under the Robinson-Patman Act and breaches of the implied warranties of merchantability and fitness for a particular purpose for defective products.

II. BACKGROUND

Plaintiff Dayton Superior Corporation filed this breach-of-contract action on July 16, 2008, to recover more than $1.2 million that Defendant Spa Steel Products, Inc. allegedly owed Plaintiff for goods that it had sold and delivered to Defendant.

On January 29, 2010, Plaintiff moved for summary judgment on its breach-of-contract claim and also moved to dismiss Defendant's affirmative defenses and counterclaims. In a September 24, 2010 Memorandum-Decision and Order, the Court (1) granted Plaintiff's motion for summary judgment but declined to enter final judgment until Defendant's counterclaims had been resolved, (2) granted Plaintiff's motion to strike Defendant's affirmative defenses, and (3) dismissed Defendant's second counterclaim for unfair competition. As to Defendant's first and third counterclaims, the Court granted Defendant's request for leave to amend;*fn1 and, on October 21, 2011, Defendant filed an amended answer, including its amended first and third counterclaims. In response, Plaintiff filed the instant motion to dismiss on November 4, 2011.

III. DISCUSSION

A. Plaintiff's motion to dismiss Defendant's first and third counterclaims

Rule 8(a)(2) requires that a pleading contain "a short and plain statement of the claim showing that the pleader is entitled to relief[.]" Fed. R. Civ. P. 8(a)(2). This pleading standard does not require "detailed factual allegations," but it does require "more than labels and conclusions, and a formulaic recitation of the elements of a cause of action . . . ." Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S 544, 555 (2007) (citations omitted). The complaint must tender more than mere "'naked assertion[s]' devoid of 'further factual enhancement.'" Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, ---, 129 S. Ct. 1937, 1949 (2009) (quoting [Twombly, 550 U.S.] at 557, 127 S. Ct. 1955).

To survive a motion to dismiss pursuant to Rule 12(b)(6), "a complaint must contain sufficient factual matter, accepted as true, to 'state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face.'" Id. (quotation omitted). A court must draw all reasonable inferences in favor of the nonmoving party. See Gorman v. Consol. Edison Corp., 488 F.3d 586, 591-92 (2d Cir. 2007) (citation omitted). Moreover, in ruling on a motion to dismiss, the court may consider "any written instrument attached to the complaint as an exhibit, any materials incorporated into it by reference, and any other documents that are integral to it." Youngblood v. Artus, No. 9:10-CV-00752, 2011 WL 6337774, *4 (N.D.N.Y. Dec. 19, 2011) (citation omitted).

Finally, a plaintiff bears the burden of establishing subject matter jurisdiction by a preponderance of the evidence; and, "before a federal court can consider the merits of a legal claim, the person seeking to invoke the jurisdiction of the court must establish the requisite standing to sue." Whitmore v. Arkansas, 495 U.S. 149, 154 (1990); see also Makarova v. United States, 201 F.3d 110, 113 (2d Cir. 2000) (citations omitted).

1. Defendant's first counterclaim: Price-discrimination under the Robinson-Patman Act The Robinson-Patman Act ("RPA") prohibits discriminatory pricing among competing buyers of the same goods. See 15 U.S.C. § 13(a). To state a prima facie claim for secondary-line price discrimination*fn2 under section 2(a), a plaintiff must establish the following: (1) the seller's sales were made in interstate commerce; (2) the seller discriminated in price between the two purchasers; (3) the product contemporaneously sold to the competing purchasers was of the same grade and quality; and (4) the price discrimination had an unlawful effect on competition. See Volvo Trucks N. Am., Inc. v. Reeder-Simco GMC, Inc., 546 U.S. 164, 176-77 (2006) (quoting 15 U.S.C. § 13(a)); George Haug Co., Inc. v. Rolls Royce Motor Cars Inc., 148 F.3d 136, 141 (2d Cir. 1998) (footnote and citation omitted). In this case, Defendant identifies four allegedly discriminatorily-priced categories of products (the "offending products"). See Dkt. No. 63, Defendant's Amended Answer/Counterclaim, at ¶¶ 14-21.

Plaintiff now moves to dismiss Defendant's first counterclaim because it contends that Defendant has failed to state a claim for price ...


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