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Worrell v. Harshe

United States District Court, D. New Jersey

April 17, 2016

GEORGE WORRELL and LINDA SOUZA, Plaintiffs,
v.
PRAJAKTA HARSHE, Defendants.

          SHERMAN, SILVERSTEIN, KOHL, ROSE & PODOLSKY, P.A. By: Alan C. Milstein, Esq. Counsel for Plaintiffs

          LOCKE LORD LLP By: Aileen E. McTiernan, Esq. Counsel for Defendant

          OPINION

          Noel L. Hillman, U.S.D.J.

         This dispute arises out of a soured business relationship between Plaintiffs George Worrell and Linda Souza, and Defendant Prajakta Harshe. Presently before the Court is Defendant's Motion to Dismiss the Amended Complaint. For the reasons stated herein, the motion will be denied.[1]

         I.

         The following allegations are relevant to the issues raised by the instant motion. “Both plaintiffs have Yahoo! email accounts which they use for both business and personal use including communications with [legal] counsel.” (Amend. Compl. ¶ 9) Allegedly, “[o]n April 27, 2015, defendant accessed the Yahoo email accounts without plaintiffs' authority or consent.” (Id. ¶ 10) Specifically, plaintiffs allege that, on that date, “defendant contacted Yahoo and, posing as one or both plaintiffs, represented that she had forgotten the password to the [email] account[s]. She then entered the cell number of one or both plaintiffs which was the security recovery method utilized by Yahoo to restore a password and log into an account.” (Id. ¶ 18)

         Defendant then allegedly logged into the accounts “without the authorization of plaintiffs [and] intercepted the account information in real time which gave [defendant] access to plaintiffs' email history as well as the ability to generate emails from those accounts.” (Id. ¶ 19) Further, Plaintiff Worrell attaches to the Amended Complaint an email between himself and his attorney which he alleges Defendant forwarded from Worrell's email account to Defendant's own email account. (Amend. Compl. ¶ 20 and Ex. 1)

         The Amended Complaint asserts four claims: (1) violation of the Electronic Communications Privacy Act, 18 U.S.C. § 2511 et seq.; (2) violation of the Stored Communications Act, 18 U.S.C. § 2701 et seq.; (3) libel and slander; and (4) violation of the New Jersey Identity Theft Statute, N.J.S.A. § 2C:21-17.[2]

         II.

         When considering a motion to dismiss a complaint for failure to state a claim upon which relief can be granted pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6), a court must accept all well-pleaded allegations in the complaint as true and view them in the light most favorable to the plaintiff. Evancho v. Fisher, 423 F.3d 347, 351 (3d Cir. 2005). It is well settled that a pleading is sufficient if it contains “a short and plain statement of the claim showing that the pleader is entitled to relief.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 8(a)(2).

         Under the liberal federal pleading rules, it is not necessary to plead evidence, and it is not necessary to plead all the facts that serve as a basis for the claim. Bogosian v. Gulf Oil Corp., 562 F.2d 434, 446 (3d Cir. 1977). However, “the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure . . . do require that the pleadings give defendant fair notice of what the plaintiff's claim is and the grounds upon which it rests.” Baldwin Cnty. Welcome Ctr. v. Brown, 466 U.S. 147, 149-50 n.3 (1984) (quotation and citation omitted).

         A district court, in weighing a motion to dismiss, asks “‘not whether a plaintiff will ultimately prevail but whether the claimant is entitled to offer evidence to support the claim.'” Bell Atlantic v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 563 n.8 (2007) (quoting Scheuer v. Rhoades, 416 U.S. 232, 236 (1974)); see also Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 684 (2009)(“Our decision in Twombly expounded the pleading standard for ‘all civil actions' . . . .”); Fowler v. UPMC Shadyside, 578 F.3d 203, 210 (3d Cir. 2009)(“Iqbal . . . provides the final nail in the coffin for the ‘no set of facts' standard that applied to federal complaints before Twombly.”).

         III.

         Defendant moves to dismiss arguing that Plaintiffs have failed to state claims under the federal statutes, and that the Court should decline to exercise supplemental jurisdiction over the remaining ...


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