United States District Court, E.D. Michigan, Southern Division
Stephanie Dawkins Davis, United States Magistrate Judge
OPINION AND ORDER GRANTING DEFENDANT'S MOTION TO
DISMISS PLAINTIFF'S COUNT IV  AND DENYING
PLAINTIFF'S FIRST MOTION TO DISMISS DEFENDANT'S
COUNTERCLAIM COUNTS II AND IV  AS MOOT
Gershwin A. Drain, United States District Court Judge
September 19, 2016, Jaguar Land Rover Limited
(“Plaintiff” or “JLR”) filed a
seven-count Complaint alleging trademark claims under the
Lanham Act and other state and common law allegations against
Bombardier Recreational Products Inc.
(“Defendant” or “BRP”). Dkt. No. 1.
The dispute centers on the sale of vehicles that both bear
the mark “Defender.” Id.
matter is presently before the Court on Defendant's
Motion To Dismiss Plaintiff's Count IV (Violation Of The
Michigan Consumer Protection Act (MCPA)) , pursuant to
Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6). The motion was
filed on November 23, 2016 and is fully briefed. Id.
Upon review of the pleadings, the Court finds that oral
argument will not aid in the disposition of this matter.
Accordingly, the Court will decide the matter on the
submitted briefs. See E.D. Mich. L.R. 7.1(f)(2). For
the reasons discussed herein, the Court GRANTS
Defendant's Motion to Dismiss  and DISMISSES
Plaintiff's Count IV without prejudice.
filed a Motion to Dismiss Counts II and IV of Defendant's
Counterclaims  on December 19, 2016. Defendant amended
its Counterclaims on January 9, 2017, Dkt. No. 18, and
Plaintiff filed a second Motion to Dismiss Defendant's
Counterclaim Count IV, Dkt. No. 24, but failed to properly
withdraw its now mooted first motion. Accordingly, the Court
will DENY Plaintiff's first Motion to
Dismiss  as moot, without prejudice as to Defendant's
amended counterclaims. Plaintiff's second Motion to
Dismiss  is scheduled for a hearing in April 2017 and
will be considered at a later time.
Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6) authorizes dismissal of a
complaint for “failure to state a claim upon which
relief can be granted.” To withstand a motion to
dismiss pursuant to Rule 12(b)(6), a complaint must comply
with the pleading requirements of Federal Rule of Civil
Procedure 8(a). See Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662,
678 (2009). Rule 8(a)(2) requires “a short and plain
statement of the claim showing that the pleader is entitled
to relief, in order to give the defendant fair notice of what
the . . . claim is and the grounds upon which it
rests.” Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S.
544, 555 (2007) (quotation marks omitted) (quoting
Fed.R.Civ.P. 8(a)(2); Conley v. Gibson, 355 U.S. 41,
47 (1957)). To meet this standard, a complaint must contain
sufficient factual matter, accepted as true, to “state
a claim to relief that is plausible on its face.”
Twombly, 550 U.S. at 570; see also Iqbal,
556 U.S. at 678-80 (2009) (applying the plausibility standard
articulated in Twombly).
considering a Rule 12(b)(6) motion to dismiss, the Court must
construe the complaint in a light most favorable to the
plaintiff and accept all of his or her factual allegations as
true. Lambert v. Hartman, 517 F.3d 433, 439 (6th
Cir. 2008). However, the Court need not accept mere
conclusory statements or legal conclusions couched as factual
allegations. See Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678.
Count IV, JLR alleges that BRP's sale of vehicles under
the “Defender” mark has and is “causing
confusion or misunderstanding as to the source, sponsorship,
approval and/or certification of goods or services within the
meaning of the MCPA, ” causing irreparable harm to JLR.
Dkt. No. 1, p. 12 (Pg. ID 12). BRP moves to dismiss Count IV
by arguing that the transactions or conduct at issue in this
case is exempt under the MCPA. Dkt. No. 10, p. 2 (Pg. ID 57).
The Court Declines to Exercise Supplemental Jurisdiction on
JLR's MCPA Claim
the MCPA, “[u]nfair, unconscionable, or deceptive
methods, acts, or practices in the conduct of trade or
commerce are unlawful, ” including “[c]ausing a
probability of confusion or misunderstanding as to the
source, sponsorship, approval, or certification of goods or
services.” Mich. Comp. Laws § 445.903(1)(a). The
MCPA, however, exempts any “transaction or conduct
specifically authorized under laws administered by a
regulatory board or officer acting under statutory authority
of this state or the United States.” Mich. Comp. Laws
§ 445.904(1)(a); Liss v. Lewiston-Richards,
Inc., 478 Mich. 203, 205-06, 732 N.W.2d 514 (2007). The
Michigan Supreme Court has instructed that the relevant
inquiry “is whether the general transaction is
specifically authorized by law, regardless of whether the
specific misconduct alleged is prohibited.”
Liss, 478 Mich. at 210, 732 N.W.2d at 518.
“The party claiming the exemption bears the burden of
proving its applicability.” Id. at 208, 732
N.W.2d at 517.
general transaction alleged by JLR is the sale of BRP's
products. Dkt. No. 1, p. 12 (Pg. ID No. 12). Thus, the
question is whether this general transaction-the sale of
off-road vehicles by BRP-is specifically authorized by law.
BRP argues that Michigan's Natural Resources and
Environmental Protection Act (NREPA) provides this specific
authorization. Dkt. No. 10, p. 11 (Pg. ID 66). JLR counters
that NREPA regulations do not specifically authorize the sale
of off- road vehicles; do not require licenses for
manufacturers or dealers of off-road vehicles; and do not
provide a mechanism through which grievances ...