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Greenberg Investment Partnership L.P. v. Carys Lake Homeowners Association

United States District Court, D. South Carolina, Columbia Division

May 13, 2016

Greenberg Investment Partnership, L.P., Plaintiff,
v.
Cary’s Lake Homeowners Association; Upper Rockyford Lake Owners Association, Inc. f/k/a North Lake Company, Inc.; Lake Elizabeth Estates, Inc.; and Hartford Insurance Company of the Midwest, Defendants,

ORDER AND OPINION

Plaintiff Greenberg Investment Partnership, L.P. (“Plaintiff”) filed this action against Defendants Cary’s Lake Homeowners Association; Upper Rockyford Lake Owners Association, Inc. f/k/a North Lake Company, Inc.; and Lake Elizabeth Estates, Inc. (collectively “Defendants”) alleging causes of action for negligence, strict liability, and nuisance. Plaintiff additionally alleges bad faith and breach of contract claims against Defendant Hartford Insurance Company of the Midwest (“Hartford”).

This matter is before the court on the Motion to Dismiss under Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(6) (2012) of Defendant Cary’s Lake Homeowners Association (“Defendant”).[1] (ECF No. 9.) For the reasons set forth below, the court DENIES Defendant’s Motion to Dismiss (ECF No. 9).

I.RELEVANT FACTUAL AND PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND[2]

Plaintiff operates a Richland County, South Carolina clothing business located downstream from Richland County dams that Defendants, collectively, own and manage. (ECF No. 37 at 2-3.) The dams were intended to prevent the dispersal of water into downstream communities. (Id. at 3.) After unprecedented rainfall in October 2015 in Richland County, these dams broke, causing an influx of water into the Columbia area. (Id. at 3-4.) Plaintiff’s business was damaged as a result of the surge of water. (Id. at 4.)

Plaintiff filed this action against Defendants, alleging causes of action for negligence, strict liability, and nuisance. Defendant filed a Motion to Dismiss under Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(6) specifically with respect to Plaintiff’s negligence and strict liability claims (ECF No. 9), to which Plaintiff filed a Response in Opposition (ECF No. 33). Defendant thereafter filed a Reply (ECF No. 34.) After Plaintiff then filed an Amended Complaint (ECF No. 37), Defendant renewed and incorporated its Motion to Dismiss (ECF No. 9). (ECF No. 39.) The court considers the Motion to Dismiss (ECF No. 9) below.

II. JURISDICTION

Because this action, in part, implicates a federal question, [3] (see ECF No. 1 at 3-8), this court has subject matter jurisdiction over this action under 28 U.S.C. § 1331 (2012) and 28 U.S.C. § 1367(a) (2012) (stating that when a plaintiff has alleged both federal and state claims, a district court may exercise supplemental jurisdiction over the state claims if they form “part of the same case or controversy” as the federal claim); see also White v. Cnty. of Newberry, 985 F.2d 168, 171 (4th Cir. 1993) (observing that a district court may exercise supplemental jurisdiction over claims that “the plaintiff would ordinarily be expected to try . . . in one judicial proceeding”).

III. LEGAL STANDARD

A. Fed. R. Civ. P. 12(b)(6) Motion to Dismiss

A Rule 12(b)(6) motion for failure to state a claim upon which relief can be granted “challenges the legal sufficiency of a complaint.” Francis v. Giacomelli, 588 F.3d 186, 192 (4th Cir. 2009) (citations omitted); see also Republican Party of N.C. v. Martin, 980 F.2d 943, 952 (4th Cir. 1992) (“A motion to dismiss under Rule 12(b)(6) . . . does not resolve contests surrounding the facts, the merits of a claim, or the applicability of defenses.”). To be legally sufficient, a pleading must contain a “short and plain statement of the claim showing that the pleader is entitled to relief.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 8(a)(2) (2012).

A court should not grant a Rule 12(b)(6) motion unless it appears certain that the plaintiff can prove no set of facts that would support her claim and would entitle her to relief. Mylan Labs., Inc. v. Matkari, 7 F.3d 1130, 1134 (4th Cir. 1993). When considering a Rule 12(b)(6) motion, the court should accept as true all well-pleaded allegations and should view the complaint in a light most favorable to the plaintiff. Ostrzenski v. Seigel, 177 F.3d 245, 251 (4th Cir. 1999); Mylan Labs., Inc., 7 F.3d at 1134.

“To survive a motion to dismiss, 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) (quoting Bell Atlantic 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.” Id. Courts commonly refer to this as the Twombly/Iqbal standard for federal pleading a plaintiff needs to overcome to survive a Rule 12(b)(6) dismissal.

IV. THE COURT’S ...


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