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Casterlow-Bey v. Barnes & Nobles.Com

United States District Court, W.D. Washington, Tacoma

March 19, 2018

GARY CASTERLOW-BEY, Plaintiff,
v.
BARNES AND NOBLES.COM, Defendant.

          ORDER ON MOTION TO DISMISS

          ROBERT J. BRYAN United States District Judge

         This matter comes before the Court on Defendant Barnes and Noble, Inc.'s (“Barnes and Noble”) Motion to Dismiss. Dkt. 10. Barnes and Noble, Inc. clarifies that is its proper name, not “Barnes and Nobles.Com” as Plaintiff has styled the case. The Court has considered the motion and the remainder of the record herein.

         This case arises from the Defendant's alleged sale of Plaintiff's books. Dkt. 5. Defendant now moves for dismissal of the claims asserted against it pursuant to Fed.R.Civ.P. 12. Dkt. 10. For the reasons provided below, the motion should be granted.

         I. BACKGROUND FACTS AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY

          A. BACKGROUND FACTS

         On October 13, 2017, Plaintiff, at the time a prisoner in the Pierce County, Washington Jail, filed this case pro se, moved to proceed in forma pauperis (“IFP”), and provided a proposed complaint asserting that the Defendant infringed on the copyrights he has on his books and violated the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act, 18 U.S.C. § 1962, (“RICO”). Dkts. 1 and 5. Plaintiff seeks several million dollars in damages. Id. This is one of several cases the Plaintiff has filed regarding his books. Casterlow-Bey v. Trafford Publishing Company, Western District of Washington case number 17-5459-RJB; Casterlow-Bey v. Google.com, Inc., Western District of Washington case number 17-5686 RJB Casterlow-Bey v. Ebay.com, Western District of Washington case number 17-5687 RJB; Casterlow-Bey v. Amazon.com, U.S. District Court for the Western District of Washington case number 17-5833; and Casterlow-Bey v. Barnes and Nobles, U.S. District Court for the Western District of Washington case number 17-5871.

         According to the Complaint in this case, Plaintiff authored three books: Through the Eyes of a Gangster, Through the Eyes of a Gangster II, and Wildflower - An Urban Tale that were “published through Trafford.” Dkt. 5, at 1. He maintains that he owns the copyright to each book. Id. Plaintiff asserts that non-party Trafford Publishing Company (“Trafford”) “has forged contract authorizing sale of all three . . . books.” Id., at 2. The Plaintiff alleges that he has no contract with Defendant Barnes and Noble to manufacture or distribute his books, but that since 2006, it has sold the books on its website. Id., at 1. Plaintiff asserts that he was “never been paid any royalty payments” from Defendant Barnes and Noble. Id., at 2. He asserts that “Trafford . . . and Barnes and Noble[] act in concert to market Casterlow-Bey national and internationally unlawfully without compensating him in the form of royalties. . . resulting in actual injury.” Id.

         B. PLAINTIFF'S OTHER CASES RELATED TO THE SALE OF HIS BOOKS

         On June 14, 2017, Plaintiff, proceeding IFP, filed a breach of contract case against Trafford, who he alleges failed to pay him royalties on the three books that he wrote. Casterlow-Bey v. Trafford Publishing Company, Western District of Washington case number 17-5459-RJB; Dkt. 7. An Answer to the Complaint (Dkt. 28) was filed for Trafford, and the parties are engaging in discovery (Dkt. 46).

         On August 30, 2017, Plaintiff filed another case against Defendants Amazon and Google asserting they committed copyright infringement when Plaintiff's books were sold on their website. Casterlow-Bey v. Google.com, Inc., Western District of Washington case number 17-5686 RJB, Dkt. 1-1. On January 18, 2018, Defendants Amazon and Google's motions to dismiss pursuant to Fed.R.Civ.P. 12 were granted and the case was dismissed with prejudice. Casterlow-Bey v. Google.com, Inc., Western District of Washington case number 17-5686 RJB, Dkt. 27.

         On August 30, 2017, Plaintiff filed a case against Ebay.com, asserting that Ebay.com committed copyright infringement, breached a contract, and committed fraud when it sold Plaintiff's books. Casterlow-Bey v. Ebay.com, Western District of Washington case number 17-5687 RJB, Dkt. 1-1. Plaintiff sought injunctive relief and several million dollars in damages in that case. Id. Ebay.com moved to dismiss the claims asserted against it, in part, based on Plaintiff's failure to show that his books are registered with the U.S. Copyright Office; the motion was granted and the case was dismissed with prejudice on January 8, 2018. Casterlow-Bey v. Ebay.com, Western District of Washington case number 17-5687 RJB, Dkt. 25.

         On October 13, 2017, (the same day the instant case was filed) Plaintiff also filed a case against Amazon.com, Google.com, Barnes and Nobles.com, eBay.com and Trafford, moved for IFP, and provided a proposed complaint asserting that Defendants committed copyright infringement, violated the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act, 18 U.S.C. § 1962, (“RICO”), and committed fraud when they sold Plaintiff's books. Casterlow-Bey v. Amazon.com, U.S. District Court for the Western District of Washington case number 17-5833, Dkts. 1 and 1-1. Plaintiff seeks several million dollars in damages. Id. Motions to dismiss have been granted in that case. Casterlow-Bey v. Amazon.com, U.S. District Court for the Western District of Washington case number 17-5833, Dkts. 27, and 29-32.

         On October 25, 2017, Plaintiff filed Casterlow-Bey v. Barnes and Nobles, U.S. District Court for the Western District of Washington case number 17-5871, moved for IFP, and provided a proposed complaint again asserting that Defendant “Barnes and Nobles” committed copyright infringement, breached a contract, and committed fraud when it sold Plaintiff's books. Casterlow-Bey v. Barnes and Nobles, U.S. District Court for the Western District of Washington case number 17-5871, Dkts. 1 and 1-1. Plaintiff again made reference to RICO violations. Id. Plaintiff sought injunctive relief and several million dollars in damages. Id. His motion for IFP was denied because the case was duplicative of the other cases he had already filed. Casterlow-Bey v. Barnes and Nobles, U.S. District Court for the Western District of Washington case number 17-5871, Dkt. 4. After being given an opportunity to pay the filing fee if he wished to continue with the case, the case was dismissed for failure to pay the filing fee. Casterlow-Bey v. Barnes and Nobles, U.S. District Court for the Western District of Washington case number 17-5871, Dkt. 5.

         C. ...


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