United States District Court, E.D. Michigan, Southern Division
OPINION AND ORDER GRANTING DEFENDANT'S MOTION TO
STEPHEN J. MURPHY, III United States District Judge
Plaintiffs filed a three-count complaint against the
defendant Nuance Communications ("Nuance") and St.
Joseph Mercy Oakland Hospital ("the Hospital"). In
it, the Plaintiffs alleged traditional union labor law claims
against the Hospital (Counts I and II), along with a claim
for tortious interference with contract or business
relationship against Nuance (Count III). On October 1, 2015,
the Plaintiffs filed an amended complaint that added no new
parties or claims for relief. On November 24, 2015, the
Plaintiffs and the Hospital stipulated to the dismissal of
the First Amended Complaint and all causes of action as to
the Hospital. Nuance then moved to dismiss Count III -- the
only remaining claim. For the following reasons, the Court
will grant Nuance's motion and dismiss the case.
and taken as true, the Plaintiffs' complaint alleges that
between 2014 and 2018, the plaintiff union entities and the
Hospital were subject to a contract that protected the wages
and employment rights of various
"transcriptionists" and other
"associates" of the Hospital. F.A. Compl. 3, ECF 6.
During the contractual period, in 2015, the Hospital decided
to outsource the work of transcriptionists and others to
Nuance. Nuance and the Hospital then entered into a contract
for the employment of workers supplied by Nuance and agreed
that the transcriptionists' wages would remain stable and
that no positions covered by the union contract would be
eliminated for six months. Notwithstanding those promises,
the Plaintiffs theorized in their complaint that the
Hospital's new relationship with Nuance would result in
the loss of jobs for 13 transcriptionists who were union
members.Id. At 5. The Union thus sued the
Hosptial for breach of contract employing traditional labor
contract theories while lodging a single, additional count of
tortious interference in business or contractual relationship
against Nuance. Nuance's declined to answer the complaint
and moved to dismiss Count III. Mot,, ECF 32.
Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6) provides for dismissal of a
complaint for failure to state a claim upon which relief can
be granted. The Court may only grant a 12(b)(6) motion if the
allegations are not "sufficient 'to raise a right to
relief above the speculative level, ' and to 'state a
claim to relief that is plausible on its face.'"
Hensley Mfg. v. ProPride, Inc., 579 F.3d 603, 609
(6th Cir. 2009) (quoting Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly,
550 U.S. 544, 555, 570 (2007)). In evaluating the motion, the
Court presumes the truth of all well-pled factual assertions.
Bishop v. Lucent Techs., 520 F.3d 516, 519 (6th Cir.
2008). Moreover, the Court must draw every reasonable
inference in favor of the non-moving party. Dubay v.
Wells, 506 F.3d 422, 427 (6th Cir. 2007). But a
"pleading that offers 'labels and conclusions'
or 'a formulaic recitation of the elements of a cause of
action will not do.'" Ashcroft v. Iqbal,
556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009) (quoting Twombly, 550 U.S.
asserts that the Plaintiffs have pleaded insufficient facts
to make out a claim for tortious interference with
contractual or business relationship. The Plaintiffs allege
specific allegations against Nuance in five paragraphs of the
fifty-five paragraph complaint:
"Contrary to the existing contract had between [the
Union] and [the Hospital], [the Hospital] conspired with
Defendant Nuance to eliminate 13 Transcriptionist
Jobs as represented by the AFSCME Union beginning on or about
June 2015." ECF 6 ¶ 20 (emphasis in original).
"Defendant Nuance engaged in the intentional doing of a
per se wrongful act and/or the intentional doing of a lawful
act with malice and unjustified in law for the purpose of
invading Plaintiffs' contractual rights or business
relationship as had with [the Hospital]." Id.
"[T]here exist [sic] a contract and a business
relationship between [the Union] and [the Hospital] to which
[the Union] and its members had a reasonable expectation of
benefit." Id. ¶ 52.
"There existed a knowledge by Defendant Nuance of the
contract or the business relationship and expectancy."
Id. ¶ 53.
"There was intentional and improper interference by the
Defendant Nuance, with the contract or business relationship
and expectancy by improperly inducing or causing a breach,
disruption, or termination of the contract of the business
relationship and expectancy." Id. ¶ 54.
the Plaintiffs allege, at most and in a conclusory fashion,
that Nuance conspired with the hospital to eliminate 13
transcriptionist jobs, and that the conspiracy interfered
with the Plaintiffs' ongoing business and contractual
relationship with the hospital. The Plaintiffs allege that
Nuance used bad acts or malice to invade the Plaintiffs'
relationship with the hospital, but they allege no specific
facts to demonstrate how. Thus, Nuance argues that Count III
fails to state a claim upon which relief can ...