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Coppage v U-Haul

Coppage v U-Haul

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Published by Eric Goldman

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Published by: Eric Goldman on Feb 17, 2011
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03/17/2011

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UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURTSOUTHERN DISTRICT OF NEW YORK
 ------------------------------------------------------------XWALTER COPPAGE, ::Plaintiff, :: 10 Civ. 8313 (RMB)-against- ::
DECISION &
 
ORDER
 U-HAUL INTERNATIONAL, INC., :MOVINGHELP.COM, & EMOVE, INC., ::Defendant. ::------------------------------------------------------------X
I. Background
On December 16, 2010, Walter Coppage (“Plaintiff”) filed an amended complaint(“Complaint”), in diversity, against U-Haul International, Inc. (“U-Haul”), a U-Haul subsidiary,eMove, Inc. (“eMove”), and Movinghelp.com (“Movinghelp”) (collectively, “Defendants”).(See Compl., dated Dec. 13, 2010, ¶¶ 1–4.) It appears that, on February 11, 2010, one of theDefendants rented a vehicle (type unspecified) intended for one-day use to Plaintiff at U-Haul’srental location at 562 West 23rd Street, New York, New York, which Plaintiff may have used tomove his belongings to a new apartment at 530 West 55th Street, New York, New York. (SeeDecl. of James Pena, dated Jan. 7, 2011, Ex. 2 (“U-Haul Contract”).)
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Plaintiff also claims thathe has certain physical disabilities, including having only one leg, diabetes, failing vision, andchronic fatigue, and that Defendants (1) negligently breached various duties allegedly owed toPlaintiff by not “inquiring whether [Plaintiff] suffered any health [conditions] that could interferewith his ability to operate its vehicle,” and by not providing Plaintiff with the means necessary to
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Plaintiff does not clearly present the details of Plaintiff’s transaction with U-Haul. TheCourt has reviewed the U-Haul lease provided by James Pena, president of U-Haul Co. of Arizona (the title owner of the rented vehicle). (See Decl. of James Pena ¶ 1.)
Case 1:10-cv-08313-RMB Document 19 Filed 02/15/11 Page 1 of 7
 
 2guarantee Plaintiff’s “safe transport”; (2) breached their contract with Plaintiff by failing toprovide “moving-helpers” to Plaintiff; (3) intentionally interfered with a business contractbetween Plaintiff and his prospective (new) landlord; and (4) breached their “fiduciary duty” toPlaintiff. (Compl. ¶¶ 12, 14, 17, 22, 24, 29.) It appears from the Complaint and Plaintiff’s briefsthat Plaintiff allegedly suffered some type of injury during the course of driving the U-Haulvehicle. (See Compl. ¶ 18 (“Because of his poor physical health, his advanced age, and theextraordinary amount of stress and physical energy involved in moving, he was forced to enterthe [e]mergency [r]oom at Harlem Hospital before being permitted to [complete his move to] hisnew apartment.”).) In any case, Plaintiff alleges that, as a result of Defendant’s conduct, heincurred medical expenses and was “prevent[ed] . . . from enjoying a new beginning at his newpremises.” (Compl. 27.)
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 On January 18, 2011, Defendants filed a motion to dismiss the Complaint (“Motion”),pursuant to Rule 12(b)(6) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure (“Fed. R. Civ. P.”), asserting,among other things, that Plaintiff (1) “cannot establish that Defendants owed Plaintiff the dutiesPlaintiff alleges were breached”; (2) does not identify “the terms of the contract which wereallegedly breached”; (3) “fails to plead every single element of a claim for intentionalinterference with contract other than the existence of a contract”; and (4) fails to make “anyfactual allegations to indicate how a fiduciary relationship existed between Plaintiff andDefendants.” (See Defs.’ Mem. of Law in Supp. of Mot., dated Jan. 18, 2011 (“Def. Mem.”), at6, 10, 12, 15.)On January 28, 2011, Plaintiff filed an opposition, arguing, among other things, that(1) because “U-Haul wished to compete with the traditional moving services companies to which
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The Complaint does not describe any actual incident that allegedly resulted in Plaintiff’sinjury.
Case 1:10-cv-08313-RMB Document 19 Filed 02/15/11 Page 2 of 7
 
 3[Plaintiff] would otherwise turn,” Defendants “promised [to fulfill] all the [duties] of a traditionalmoving services company” through a “duplicitous website”; and (2) under his contract, Plaintiff “had a right to expect [the unspecified services of] a traditional moving services company.” (SeePl.’s Mem. of Law in Opp’n to Defs.’ Mot. to Dismiss, dated Jan. 28, 2011 (“Pl. Mem.”), at 3,5.) Plaintiff also acknowledges that (3) the Court should not “concern itself” with the counts of intentional interference with contract or (4) breach of fiduciary duty because the negligence andbreach of contract claims “should be quite sufficient for [Plaintiff’s] needs . . . without thenecessity of resorting to any other legal theories.” (See Pl. Mem. at 8.)On February 4, 2011, Defendants filed a reply. (See Defs.’ Reply Mem. of Law in Supp.of Mot., dated Feb. 4, 2011 (“Def. Reply”).) The parties have waived oral argument. (See Tr. of Proceedings, dated Nov. 30, 2010.)
For the reasons set forth below, Defendants’ motion to dismiss is granted in itsentirety.
 
II. Legal Standard
To survive a motion to dismiss under Fed. R. Civ. P. 12(b)(6), a complaint must “allegesufficient factual matter to ‘state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face.’” Mitchell v. Cityof N.Y., No. 09 Civ. 3623, 2010 WL 3734098, at *2 (S.D.N.Y. Sept. 23, 2010) (quoting Bell Atl.Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 570 (2007)). “In assessing the legal sufficiency of a claim, thecourt may consider those facts alleged in the complaint, [and] documents attached as an exhibitthereto or incorporated by reference.” Henry v. Dow Jones, No. 08 Civ. 5316, 2009 WL 210680,at *4 n.6 (S.D.N.Y. Jan. 28, 2009).
Case 1:10-cv-08313-RMB Document 19 Filed 02/15/11 Page 3 of 7

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