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Rain Gutter Pros, LLC v. MGP Manufacturing, LLC

United States District Court, W.D. Washington

October 28, 2014

RAIN GUTTER PROS, LLC, a Washington Limited Liability Corporation, Plaintiff,
v.
MGP MANUFACTURING, LLC, a Delaware Limited Liability Company, Defendant

Page 1331

For Rain Gutter Pros LLC, a Washington limited liability corporation, Plaintiff: Brian G Bodine, Priya Sinha Cloutier, LEAD ATTORNEYS, LANE POWELL PC, SEATTLE, WA.

For MGP Manufacturing LLC, a New Jersey limited liability corporation, Defendant: James A Gale, Rafael A. Perez-Pineiro, LEAD ATTORNEYS, PRO HAC VICE, FELDMAN GALE, P.A., MIAMI, FL; Regina Vogel Culbert, MERCHANT & GOULD (WA), SEATTLE, WA.

Page 1332

ORDER GRANTING IN PART AND DENYING IN PART DEFENDANT'S MOTION FOR JUDGMENT ON THE PLEADINGS

RICARDO S. MARTINEZ, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.

I. INTRODUCTION

This matter comes before the Court on Defendant's Motion for Judgment on the Pleadings under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(c). Dkt. #19. Defendant, MGP Manufacturing, LLC (" MGP" ), argues that Plaintiff's claims should be dismissed for lack of standing because there was no actual case or controversy at the time the action was initiated. Id. Alternatively, Defendant argues that the action should be dismissed because it fails to meet proper pleading standards. Id. Plaintiff, Rain Gutter Pros, LLC (" RGP" ), opposes the motion, arguing that the totality of the circumstances demonstrates an actual case or controversy sufficient to allow this matter to move forward on all claims, and that the pleading standards have been sufficiently met. Dkt. #21. For the reasons set forth below, the Court agrees in part with Plaintiff, and GRANTS IN PART and DENIES IN PART Defendant's motion.

II. BACKGROUND

This case involves allegations of patent infringement and invalidity. On March 28, 2014, RGP filed a Declaratory Judgment action seeking a declaratory judgment that it does not infringe any valid claim of United States patent numbers 8,397,436 and RE43,555. Dkt. #1. RGP filed an Amended Complaint on April 15, 2014, requesting the same relief. Dkt. #5. The Complaint apparently arises from a letter sent to RGP by MGP's patent insurance company (" Intellectual Property Insurance Services Corporation" or " IPISC" ) on May

Page 1333

18, 2014, wherein IPISC alerted RGP to certain patents owned by MGP, invited RGP to review the patents and then invited RGP to call MGP to discuss the patents, but did not explicitly accuse RGP of infringement. Dkt. #5, Ex. A.

III. DISCUSSION

A. Standard of Review

Rule 12(c) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure permits a party to move to dismiss a suit " [a]fter the pleadings are closed . . . but early enough not to delay trial." Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(c). " Judgment on the pleadings is proper when, taking all allegations in the pleading as true, the moving party is entitled to judgment as a matter of law." Stanley v. Trustees of Cal. State Univ., 433 F.3d 1129, 1133 (9th Cir. 2006); see also Fleming v. Pickard, 581 F.3d 922, 925 (9th Cir. 2009). Because a motion for judgment on the pleadings is " functionally identical" to a motion to dismiss, the standard for a Rule 12(c) motion is ...


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