United States District Court, S.D. New York
OPINION AND ORDER
RICHARD J. SULLIVAN, District Judge.
James Duckett brings this action against Defendants Hadley
Engelhard, Esq., Enter Sports Management, Wes Bridges, Esq.,
Becker LLC, and Becker Meisel, LLC, asserting claims for
breach of contract, unjust enrichment, and declaratory
judgment arising out of an alleged finder's fee agreement
involving Defendants' representation of a professional
football player. Now before the Court is Defendants'
motion to dismiss Plaintiffs complaint pursuant to Rule
12(b)(6) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. For the
reasons set forth below, Defendants' motion is granted.
action arises out of an alleged agreement between Plaintiff
and Defendants pursuant to which Defendants agreed to
compensate Plaintiff for services he rendered in connection
with the recruitment of wide receiver Mike Williams to sign a
National Football League ("NFL") representation
contract with Defendants. In the fall of 2009, Plaintiff
organized and hosted meetings between Williams and agents
seeking to recruit Williams for representation, including a
meeting with Defendants. (Compl. ¶¶ 11-12.) During
the meeting with Defendants, the parties discussed terms for
Plaintiffs fee for facilitating and recruiting Williams to
accept Defendants' offer of representation. (Id.
¶ 13.) According to Plaintiff, the parties agreed that
Plaintiff would be paid "33% of all eventual fees
received by Defendants, including all player contracts and
endorsement contracts, to be paid at the time of such payment
to Defendants." (Id. ¶ 14.)
about November 15, 2009, Plaintiff met again with Defendants
and Williams to "formalize" their agreements.
(Id. ¶ 15.) That day, Defendants Engelhard and
Bridges entered into an NFL Players Association Standard
Representation Agreement ("SRA") with Williams,
whereby Defendants would advise Williams with regard to the
procurement of an NFL contract. (Id. ¶ 16.)
Pursuant to the SRA, Engelhard and Bridges were to receive 3%
of Williams's earnings "as or related to his
services as a professional football player."
to the SRA was an "SRA Disclosure Form for Recruiting
Assistance Payment" ("SRA Disclosure Form"),
dated November 15, 2009 and signed by Engelhard and Bridges,
which states as follows:
I, Hadley Engelhard / Wes Bridges (Contract Advisor), hereby
disclose to Mike Williams (Player) that I or my agents have
paid or promised to pay, directly or indirectly, the money or
any other thing of value so indicated below ... to the
person(s) or entities listed below in return for recruiting
or helping to recruit Player to sign a Standard
Representation Agreement (SRA)[.]
No. 49-5, Geraghty Decl. Ex. E; see also Compl.
¶¶ 17-19 (describing the SRA Disclosure Form).)
Plaintiffs name, address, and phone number are listed below
on the form, along with -under "Money or Other Thing of
Value" - "33% of net proceeds of player
contracts." (Doc. No. 49-5, Geraghty Decl. Ex. E.)
Engelhard and Bridges signed the document after the following
certification: "I hereby certify that the above
information is true and complete." (Id.)
about June 4, 2010, while represented by Defendants, Williams
signed a three-year NFL contract with the Tampa Bay
Buccaneers for an amount exceeding $2, 000, 000. (Compl.
¶ 21.) On or about July 24, 2013, while represented by
Engelhard, Williams signed a $39, 000, 000 contract with the
Buccaneers. (Id. ¶ 22.) Plaintiff alleges that
Williams has been paid $15, 000, 000 pursuant to these
contracts as of the date of the complaint, and that Williams
"has paid, or owes, Defendants 3% of his earnings as a
professional football player, and endorsements related
thereto, and Defendants owe Plaintiff 33% thereof."
(Id. ¶ 24.) However, Defendants have made no
payments to Plaintiff. (Id¶25.)
commenced this action by filing a complaint on November 13.
2015. (Doc. No. I.) Following a conference on an anticipated
motion to dismiss by Defendants, Plaintiff filed an amended
complaint on June 3, 2016, asserting claims for breach of an
oral agreement and unjust enrichment and seeking a
declaratory judgment declaring that he is entitled to 33% of
all future payments to the Defendants with respect to their
representation of Williams. (Doc. No. 35.) Defendants
Engelhard and Enter Sports Management filed a motion to
dismiss on June 21, 2016 (Doc. No. 42), and Defendants
Bridges and Becker LLC joined in that motion (Doc. No. 43).
The motion was fully briefed as of October 5, 2016 (Doc. No.
57), and Plaintiff filed a letter listing two additional case
citations on October 7, 2016 (Doc. No. 58).
survive a motion to dismiss pursuant to Rule 12(b)(6) of the
Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, a complaint must
"provide the grounds upon which [the] claim rests."
ATSI Commc'ns, 493 F.3d at 98; see also
Fed. R. Civ. P. 8(a)(2) ("A pleading that states a claim
for relief must contain ... a short and plain statement of
the claim showing that the pleader is entitled to relief.. .
."). To meet this standard, plaintiffs must allege
"enough facts to state a claim to relief that is
plausible on its face." Bell Atl. Corp. v.
Twombly,550 U.S. 544, 570 (2007). "A claim has
facial plausibility when the plaintiff pleads factual content
that allows the court to draw the reasonable inference that
the defendant is liable for the misconduct alleged."
Ashcrofi v. Iqbal,556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009). In
reviewing a Rule 12(b)(6) motion to dismiss, a court must
accept as true all factual allegations in the complaint and
draw all reasonable inferences in favor of the plaintiff
ATSI Commc'ns, 493 F.3d at 98. However, that
tenet "is inapplicable to legal conclusions."
Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678. Thus, a pleading that offers
only "labels and conclusions" or "a formulaic