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WJ Global LLC v. Farrell

United States District Court, E.D. North Carolina

April 17, 2013

WJ GLOBAL LLC f/k/a WINSTON JOSEPH LLC and LOOKING GLASS SOFTWARE LLC, Plaintiffs,
v.
JOSEPH STEPHAN FARRELL and JOSEPH FARRELL, Defendants

Page 689

For WJ Global LLC, formerly known as Winston Joseph LLC, Looking Glass Software, LLC, Plaintiffs: Charles George, Robert Anthony Young, LEAD ATTORNEYS, Wyrick Robbins Yates & Ponton, LLP, Raleigh, NC.

For Joseph Stephan Farrell, Defendant: Christopher T. Graebe, LEAD ATTORNEY, Mark R. Sigmon, Graebe Hanna & Sullivan, PLLC, Raleigh, NC.

For Joseph Farrell, Defendant: John Anthony Zaloom, LEAD ATTORNEY, Moore & Van Allen, PLLC, Research Triangle Park, NC.

OPINION

Page 690

ORDER

TERRENCE W. BOYLE, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.

This cause comes before the Court on plaintiff's motion to remand and defendant Joseph Stephan Farrell's motion to dismiss. For the reasons discussed below, both motions are granted in part and denied in part.

BACKGROUND

This action was originally filed in Wake County Superior Court and was removed by defendant Joseph Stephan Farrell (J.S. Farrell) to this Court on November 15, 2012. WJ Global is an information technology company formerly owned by Winston W. Eaton (Eaton) and Joseph Farrell (J. Farrell), the father of J.S. Farrell. Eaton and J. Farrell each owned a 50% share of WJ Global; J.S. Farrell was an officer of WJ Global. LookingGlass is a project management tool provided by WJ Global that was developed under the direction of J.S. Farrell while he was an officer of WJ Global. WJ Global transferred ownership of the LookingGlass software to Looking Glass Software, LLC, another entity owned in its entirety by Eaton and J. Farrell. Prior to December 31, 2011, ownership of LookingGlass software was transferred back to WJ Global, which remained owned in its entirety by Eaton and J. Farrell. Effective December 31, 2011, J. Farrell transferred his ownership interest in WJ Global and Looking Glass Software to Eaton, and at that time or shortly thereafter J.S. Farrell was relieved by Eaton of his duties as an officer.

Plaintiffs contend that J.S. Farrell thereafter inappropriately deleted company emails and made copies of the LookingGlass software and other intellectual property owned by plaintiffs. Plaintiffs thereafter filed this lawsuit alleging claims of breach of fiduciary duty, violations of the North Carolina Unfair and Deceptive Trade Practices Act, computer trespass, and conversion against J.S. Farrell. Plaintiffs also seek a permanent injunction enjoining J.S. Farrell from disclosing or using LookingGlass software or other intellectual

Page 691

property owned by plaintiffs, as well as a declaratory judgment regarding ownership of LookingGlass software and other WJ Global intellectual property. [1] The complaint states that J. Farrell is named as a defendant in this action although no specific relief is sought against him at this time; he is a named defendant upon information and belief that he cannot willingly be brought into this action as a plaintiff but has an interest in the controversy for which a declaratory judgment is sought.

J.S. Farrell has moved to dismiss the complaint in its entirety for failure to state a claim upon which relief can be granted. Fed. R. Civ. Pro. 12(b)(6). Plaintiffs have moved to remand this matter back to Wake County Superior Court, contending that removal was improper and that their claims have ...


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