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Channon v. Tavangar

United States District Court, D. New Mexico

July 2, 2019

MATTHEW J. CHANNON, Plaintiff,
v.
JEFF TAVANGAR, SHELLEY BACA, JENNIFER IRELAND, ARMADA GROUP, INC., NATALIE GANN, and TP-LINK RESEARCH AMERICA CORPORATION, Defendants.

          MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER GRANTING DEFENDANT TPRA'S MOTION TO DISMISS

         THIS MATTER comes before the Court upon a Motion to Dismiss filed on May 20, 2019 by Defendant TP-Link Research America Corporation (“TPRA”). Doc. 48. Having reviewed the parties' pleadings and the applicable law, the Court finds that Defendant's motion is well-taken and, therefore, is granted.

         BACKGROUND

         This case arises from a staffing agreement for technical consulting services, in which Plaintiff alleges that he was unlawfully terminated. This case is before the Court on diversity jurisdiction. The Complaint asserts numerous claims against several defendants, including Defendant TPRA, who filed this motion. Armada Group, Inc. (“Armada”), which has already been dismissed from this case, is a staffing agency that locates individuals who provide technical services and provides these individuals to Armada's clients, which are often technology companies. Defendant TPRA is a technology company that develops, among other things, software for computer networking equipment. According to the complaint, on June 25, 2015, Armada signed an agreement with Plaintiff Matthew Channon's company, Loitery LLC, under which Plaintiff's company was to provide services for TPRA. At that time and at Armada's request, Plaintiff agreed to undergo a background check. Plaintiff claims he began performing services for TPRA on or about June 25, 2015, while his background check was still pending.

         In early July, during the federal portion of the background check, Armada learned that Plaintiff was facing pending felony charges for wire-fraud in the United States District Court for the District of New Mexico. Armada provided this background information to TPRA as agreed between the parties. On July 13, 2015, TPRA advised Armada of its desire to terminate its contract with Armada regarding Plaintiff's services, effective July 14, 2015. See Doc. 10-4. The termination of that agreement was effective July 14, 2015. Complaint, ¶¶ 32-34. After TPRA terminated its contract with Armada, Armada also terminated its agreement with Plaintiff.

         Plaintiff was subsequently convicted of five counts of wire fraud and sentenced to one year and one-day imprisonment. Complaint, ¶ 14; see also, Doc. 25, p. 1 (Plaintiff “pled not guilty to, and was later convicted of, five counts of Wire Fraud in this Court”); Doc. 45, p. 2, fn 1 (granting request for judicial notice of Plaintiff's convictions felony criminal charges pending against him).

         Plaintiff filed this Complaint pro se on June 26, 2018, and was granted leave to proceed in forma pauperis, alleging that he was fired for having pending criminal charges; that all Defendants were aware of these charges when they decided to terminate him; and that his termination was unlawful. The Complaint alleges the following counts against TPRA:

Count 1 - Violation of California Labor Code 432.7(A);
Count 2 - Interference with Contractual Relations;
Count 4 - Breach of K; and
Count 7 - Civil Conspiracy

         Defendant TPRA moves to dismiss all of these claims. Plaintiff has not filed a response. Under this Court's local rules, failure to file a response to a motion “constitutes consent to grant the motion.” D.N.M.L-R Civ. 7.1(b). The Court may dismiss a complaint for failure to file response where it considers only defendants' arguments and the complaint's allegations. Giummo v. Olsen, 701 Fed.Appx. 992, 925 (11th Cir. 2017; see Issa v. Comp USA, 354 F.3d 1174, 1177-78 (10th Cir. 2003) (district court erred by dismissing complaint for failure to state claim merely because plaintiff failed to file response to motion to dismiss that was required by local rules.

         DISCUSSION

         I. Legal Standard

         To survive a motion to dismiss under Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(6), the 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 Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555, 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. (citing Twombly, 550 U.S. at 556). Conclusory allegations of liability, without supporting factual content, are insufficient. “The allegations ...


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