United States District Court, D. Maryland
S-E-A, LTD. Plaintiff
ANTHONY CORNETTO Defendant
K. BREDAR CHIEF JUDGE
case was filed on June 14, 2018, by S-E-A, Ltd.
(“S-E-A”), against Anthony Cornetto, who was
formerly employed by S-E-A. (Compl., ECF No. 1.) S-E-A
immediately sought a temporary restraining order
(“TRO”) against Cornetto, and that was granted.
(ECF Nos. 2, 8.) An amended complaint was filed on June 19,
2018, to correct scrivener's errors. (ECF No. 14.)
alleged Cornetto had violated the federal Defend Trade
Secrets Act, 18 U.S.C. § 1836, and further alleged he
had breached his noncompetition and nonsolicitation
agreements as well as his duty of confidentiality; the latter
presented causes of action under state law. S-E-A presented a
sufficiently compelling case for the state law claims that
the Court entered the TRO. However, at that time, the Court
was without benefit of adversarial argument from Cornetto. On
July 9, 2018, Cornetto filed a motion to dismiss or, in the
alternative, motion for summary judgment as to the federal
count, Count II; as well, he sought dismissal of the
supplemental claims if S-E-A did not prevail on the federal
claim. (ECF No. 32.) Cornetto has sought dismissal under
Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6) on the federal claim
and dismissal of the state law claims under Rule 12(b)(1).
After hearing argument from S-E-A on August 20, 2018, the
Court will grant the motion.
Standard for Dismissal under Rule 12(b)(1)
burden of proving subject-matter jurisdiction is on the
plaintiff. A challenge to jurisdiction may be either facial,
i.e., the complaint fails to allege facts upon which
subject-matter jurisdiction can be based, or factual,
i.e., jurisdictional allegations of the complaint
are not true. Adams v. Bain, 697 F.2d 1213, 1219
(4th Cir. 1982). See also Kerns v. United States,
585 F.3d 187, 192 (4th Cir. 2009) (same); Richmond,
Fredericksburg & Potomac Ry. Co., 945 F.2d 765, 768
(4th Cir. 1991) (same). In the case of a factual challenge,
it is permissible for a district court to “consider
evidence outside the pleadings without converting the
proceeding to one for summary judgment.” Richmond,
Fredericksburg, 945 F.2d at 768 (citing Adams,
697 F.2d at 1219).
Standard of Dismissal for Failure to State 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)).
Facial plausibility exists “when the plaintiff pleads
factual content that allows the court to draw the reasonable
inference that the defendant is liable for the misconduct
alleged.” Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678. An inference
of a mere possibility of misconduct is not sufficient to
support a plausible claim. Id. at 679. As the
Twombly opinion stated, “Factual allegations
must be enough to raise a right to relief above the
speculative level.” 550 U.S. at 555. “A pleading
that offers ‘labels and conclusions' or ‘a
formulaic recitation of the elements of a cause of action
will not do.' . . . Nor does a complaint suffice if it
tenders ‘naked assertion[s]' devoid of
‘further factual enhancement.'”
Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678 (quoting Twombly,
550 U.S. at 555, 557). Although when considering a motion to
dismiss a court must accept as true all factual allegations
in the complaint, this principle does not apply to legal
conclusions couched as factual allegations. Twombly,
550 U.S. at 555.
Defend Trade Secrets Act permits “[a]n owner of a trade
secret that is misappropriated [to] bring a civil action . .
. if the trade secret is related to a product or service used
in, or intended for use in, interstate or foreign
term “trade secret” is defined in 18 U.S.C.
§ 1839(3) to mean the following:
all forms and types of financial, business, scientific,
technical, economic, or engineering information, including
patterns, plans, compilations, program devices, formulas,
designs, prototypes, methods, techniques, processes,
procedures, programs, or codes, whether tangible or
intangible, and whether or how stored, compiled, or
memorialized physically, electronically, graphically,
photographically, or in writing if-
(A) the owner thereof has taken reasonable measures to keep
such information secret; and
(B) the information derives independent economic value,
actual or potential, from not being generally known to, and
not being readily ascertainable through proper means by,
another person who can obtain economic ...