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Matthew Couloute, Jr v. Amanda Ryncarz and Stacey Blitsch

February 17, 2012

MATTHEW COULOUTE, JR., PLAINTIFF,
v.
AMANDA RYNCARZ AND STACEY BLITSCH, DEFENDANTS.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Hon. Harold Baer, Jr., District Judge:

OPINION & ORDER

Before the Court is a motion to dismiss the Complaint pursuant to Rule 12(b)(6) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. Matthew Couloute, Jr. ("Plaintiff") filed this Complaint seeking damages against Amanda Ryncarz and Stacey Blitsch (collectively "Defendants") for engaging in tortious interference with prospective business relations when they allegedly posted comments about Plaintiff on an Internet website. For the following reasons, the motion to dismiss is granted and leave to amend the Complaint is denied.

I.BACKGROUND

The following is meant to provide context and has no bearing on the present motion: Plaintiff's relationship with Defendant Blitsch began in 2003 in California. They separated sometime after they moved to Atlanta and had a child together. Plaintiff moved to Florida with their son, and Defendant Blitsch followed. Plaintiff now resides in New Jersey. Plaintiff's relationship with Defendant Ryncarz began during Plaintiff's residency in Florida. After they separated, Plaintiff married a third woman not involved in this lawsuit. Both Defendants still reside in Florida.

The following facts are taken from Plaintiff's original Complaint and are assumed to be true for the purposes of this motion to dismiss. Since 2011, Plaintiff has practiced law out of his office in Manhattan. Compl. ¶¶ 7--8. Plaintiff alleges that between December 25, 2010, and May 2011, Defendants posted malicious statements about him on the website www.liarscheatersrus.com. Id. ¶ 9. In particular, Plaintiff asserts that at least the following statements were made by Defendant Ryncarz on or shortly after December 25, 2010:

1. "[Mr. Couloute] lied and cheated all through his 40 years of life." Id. ¶ 10.

2. "[Mr. Couloute] [u]ses people/his son/women to get what he wants then dumps you when he's done with them. Has no long term friends. He rents or finances everything and owns absolutely nothing." Id.

3. A comment posted anonymously responding to earlier comments, including: "He is very very manipulating. he's an attorney so he's great at lying and covering it up without batting an eye."*fn1 Id.

And by Defendant Blitsch on or shortly after January 4, 2011:

1. "[W]hat these ladies have said about his character is very true. I met him and dated briefly and I was taken in with the charm and instant "connection" he claimed we had . . . [A]s soon as I started asking questions about other aspects of his life and figured out he wasn't comple[tely] honest he turned cold then disappeared. And of course another male is going to say Matt is a "solid dude" . . . if you agree with lieing [sic] and manipulating any female you come in contact with I guess he could be considered that. . . ." Id. ¶ 11.

2. A comment referring to Plaintiff's previous legal employer, United Football League: "I came across this site by accident by following a UFL news feed, so your friend Matt has more problems than these posts if in search for the league his name is associated with this site." Id. ¶ 12.

Plaintiff alleges that Defendants made these statements knowing that Plaintiff was working in New York as an attorney and made them with the aim of interfering with Plaintiff's ability to market his legal skills. In doing so, Defendants "unfairly and maliciously damaged one of Mr. Couloute's most valuable asset [sic] as an attorney, his reputation for honesty and integrity." Id. ¶ 13. Plaintiff's proposed Amended Complaint includes the allegation that these statements defamed him, causing present and prospective clients to view Plaintiff in a negative and false light. Am. Compl. ¶ 13. Plaintiff states that due to these postings, prospective clients are discouraged from contacting Plaintiff for legal services. Id. ¶ 14; see also Compl. ¶ 14.

Originally and on August 25, 2011, Plaintiff filed this Complaint alleging a single cause of action for tortious interference with prospective business relations. On September 14, 2011, Defendants filed the present motion to dismiss. On October 8, 2011, Plaintiff opposed the motion and requested leave to amend the Complaint to cure deficiencies elicited in Defendants' motion and to add a second cause of action for defamation. Defendants submitted the reply memorandum to their motion on October 18, 2011, where they argued that the Amended Complaint that Plaintiff sought to submit failed to adequately state a claim. On October 20, 2011, Plaintiff submitted a motion to amend and an accompanying memorandum arguing that the Court should accept the Amended Complaint without addressing the concerns Defendants raised regarding the new defamation claim.*fn2 The Defendants have not sought leave to respond to ...


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