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Aggreko, LLC v. Barreto

United States District Court, D. North Dakota

March 13, 2017

Aggreko, LLC, et al., Plaintiff,
v.
Guillermo Barreto and Elite Power, LLC, Defendants.

          ORDER DENYING DEFENDANT'S MOTION TO DISMISS

          Daniel L. Hovland, Chief Judge United States District Court

         Before the Court is Defendant Guillermo Barreto's Rule 12(b)(6) "Motion to Dismiss" filed on December 21, 2016. See Docket No. 23. The Plaintiff filed a response in opposition to the motion on January 18, 2017. See Docket No. 27. For the reasons set forth below, the motion is denied.

         I. BACKGROUND

         The factual background, which the Court must accept as true for purposes of this motion, is taken from the complaint. See Docket No. 20.

         The Plaintiff, Aggreko, LLC, is a limited liability company, organized under the laws of the State of Delaware, with its principal place of business in New Iberia, Louisiana. None of Aggreko's members are citizens of North Dakota. Aggreko is in the business of renting generators to customers in North Dakota. Defendant Elite Power is a limited liability company, organized under the laws of the State of North Dakota, with its principal place of business in Dickinson, North Dakota. Elite Power's members are citizens of North Dakota. Elite Power is in the business of renting generators to customers in North Dakota. Elite Power is a direct competitor of Aggreko in North Dakota. Defendant Guillermo Barreto is the former Business Development Manager for Agrekko who now works as a Sales Manager for Elite Power.

         Aggreko hired Barreto on December 1, 2014, as Aggreko's Business Development Manager for North Dakota. As Aggreko's Business Development Manager, Barreto had access to a substantial amount of confidential and proprietary information and trade secrets belonging to Aggreko relating to Aggreko's operations, customers, business proposals, pricing strategy, client preferences and history, and proprietary pricing models known only within Aggreko, among other sensitive information that Aggreko uses to compete in the marketplace.

         As part of his employment with Aggreko, Barreto entered into a Confidentiality Agreement, an Employment Agreement, and an acknowledgment of Aggreko's Information Technology End User Policy ("Agreements"). The Agreements were intended to protect Aggreko's confidential information and ensure this information was not removed from the workplace or used by former employees and Aggreko's competitors.

         On June 16, 2016, Guillermo Barreto gave Aggreko notice of his resignation effective June 28, 2016. Barreto notified Aggreko that he was leaving Aggreko's employment in order to develop software he had been working on in connection with a company that is not a competitor of Aggreko. In actuality, Barreto was leaving Aggreko to work for Elite Power. Barreto's Employment Agreement required that he give prior written notice to Aggreko if he were to obtain employment with one of Aggreko's competitors.

         After giving Aggreko his notice of resignation and remaining in Aggreko's employ to transition out of the business, Barreto began downloading Aggreko's information from Aggreko's internal computer network systems, onto an Aggreko-owned laptop computer, for use in his position with Elite Power. On June 25, 2016, while still employed by Aggreko, Barreto downloaded Aggreko's trade secrets and confidential information, including selected emails, and other proprietary and confidential information and/or trade secrets belonging to Aggreko onto his personal external hard drive. This information related to Aggreko's operations, customers, business proposals, pricing strategy, client preference and history, and proprietary pricing models known only within Aggreko, among other sensitive information that Aggreko uses to compete in the marketplace.

         Barreto immediately went to work for Elite Power after leaving Aggreko. Both during and after his employment with Aggreko, Barreto used Aggreko's confidential and proprietary information and trade secrets to solicit Aggreko's clients on behalf of Elite Power. Barreto has been using Aggreko's confidential and proprietary information and trade secrets to win business away from Aggreko for the benefit of Elite Power. Barreto violated the Agreements by downloading Aggreko's confidential, proprietary and trade secret information and using it to win business for Elite Power. Barreto has also used and/or disclosed Aggreko information in connection with his job duties with Elite Power. Elite Power has been the beneficiary of Barreto's actions. These actions have caused irreparable harm and monetary damages to Aggreko in terms of lost business and lost future business.

         Agrekko filed this action in federal court on September 30, 2016. See Docket No. 1. Barreto filed a Rule 12(b)(6) motion to dismiss on October 27, 2016. See Docket Nos. 13 and 17. In lieu of a response, Aggreko filed an amended complaint on November 11, 2016. See Docket No. 20. Barreto filed a Rule 12(b)(6) motion to dismiss as to the amended complaint on December 21, 2016. See Docket No. 23. Aggreko filed a response in opposition to the motion on January 18, 2017. See Docket No. 27. The matter is now ripe for consideration.

         II. STANDARD OF REVIEW

         Rule 8(a)(2) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure requires a pleading to contain a "short and plain statement of the claim showing that the pleader is entitled to relief." Fed.R.Civ.P. 8 (a)(2). Rule 12(b)(6) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure mandates the dismissal of a claim if there has been a failure to state a claim upon which relief can be granted. In order to survive a motion to dismiss under 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." Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009). A plaintiff must show that success on the merits is more than a "sheer possibility." Id. A complaint is sufficient if its "factual content. . . allows the court to draw the reasonable inference that the defendant is liable for the misconduct alleged." Id. The court must accept all factual allegations as true, except for legal conclusions or "formulaic recitation of the elements of a cause of action." Id. at 681. Detailed factual allegations are not necessary under the Rule 8 pleading standard, rather a plaintiff must set forth grounds of its entitlement to relief which "requires more than labels and conclusions, and a formulaic recitation of the elements of a cause of action will not do." Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555 (2007). A complaint does not "suffice if it tenders a naked assertion devoid of further factual enhancement." Ashcroft, 556 U.S. at 678 (2009). The determination of whether a complaint states a claim upon which relief can be granted is "a context-specific task that requires the reviewing court to draw on its judicial experience and common sense." Id. at 679. Dismissal will not be granted unless it appears beyond doubt the plaintiff can prove no set of facts entitling the plaintiff to relief. Ulrich v. Pope Cnty, 715 F.3d 1054, 1058 (8th Cir. 2013).

         III. LEG ...


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