A Corp. d/b/a Rooter Man v. Palmetto Group Investment, LLC et al. (D. Mass. 20-cv-11901).

  • October 23, 2020

Magistrate Judge Boal granted Palmetto’s motion for a more definite statement in this breach of a franchise agreement and trademark litigation.  The original complaint was a bit of a jumble, with twelve defendants identified in the caption, only nine in the introductory paragraph, and just seven identified in the “Parties” section of the complaint.  The franchise agreement was with Kenny Hart, who signed a personal guaranty.  At some point following the alleged breach of the franchise agreement but before the filing of the lawsuit, Kenny Hart passed away.  Kenny Hart is one of the individual defendants named in the “Parties” section of the original complaint, along with his wife and son, Paige and Hunter Hart. 

Palmetto moved to dismiss the complaint or for a more definite statement, and Rooter Man moved for leave to file a proposed amended complaint in response.  The proposed amended complaint kept the seven defendants identified in the “Parties” section of the original complaint, and sought to clarify that the breach of contract and breach of the implied covenant of good faith and fair dealing counts were against Kenny Hart and Palmetto, Inc. only.  It also sought to add a copyright infringement count.

Judge Boal found both the complaint and the proposed amended complaint lumped all of the defendants together and failed to provide fair notice of the factual and legal allegations being levied against each defendant.  The complaints therefore lacked sufficient factual allegations as to why each defendant was being tied to the various counts.  Accordingly, the proposed amended complaint did not cure the problems with the original complaint, and would not be permitted.  Instead, Judge Boal granted the motion for a more definite statement and ordered Rooter Man to provide an amended complaint that identified the alleged acts committed by the defendants on an individual basis.

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