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Priast v. DCT Systems Group, Inc.

United States District Court, W.D. North Carolina, Statesville Division

January 13, 2015

FELIPE A. PRIAST, Plaintiff,


RICHARD L. VOORHEES, District Judge.

THIS MATTER is before the Court upon Defendants' respective motions to dismiss, filed August 19, 2014, and September 12, 2014.[1] (Docs. 30, 34-35).

It is appropriate for the Court to consider matters outside the pleadings ( e.g., affidavits, declarations, etc.) since Defendants do not move for dismissal pursuant to Rule 12(b)(6) or 12(c). See FED. R. Civ. P. 12(d).

I. Nature of Case

On January 9, 2013, Plaintiff Felipe A. Priast ("Priast"), a "Senior independent IT consultant, " entered into a written "SERVICE AGREEMENT - Independent Contractor" ("Agreement") with Defendant Datamatics Consultants, Inc. ("Datamatics").

Datamatics is "a sourcing and placement company that hires engineers and other IT consultants around the world and places them with companies for discrete projects." (Doc. 34/Attachment 2 - Green Decl., ¶ 3). Datamatics' headquarters is in Duluth, Georgia. (Id., ¶4).

DCT Systems Group, LLC ("DCT") is an intellectual property consulting and integration company with its principal place of business in Norcross, Georgia, located in Gwinnett County, Georgia.[2] (Doc. 30/Exh. A - Thakkar Aff., ¶¶ 3-4). Mr. Chittranjan "Chuck" Thakkar ("Thakkar") is a member and manager of DOT.[3] (Id., ¶ 2).

Pursuant to the Agreement, Datamatics placed Priast (the "Contractor") with DCT (its third-party "Customer") for a tentative twelve month assignment.[4] The DCT assignment entailed Priast working with Lowe's Home Improvement ("Lowe's") at its headquarters in Mooresville, North Carolina. (Compl.). Priast was assigned to the "Stage Gating Program" project at Lowe's, which Plaintiff contends was "an auditing and governing type of job" in Lowe's IT Department. (Compl., 2). Defendant Jeffery Telfare, Sr. ("Telfare") was the Program Manager for the Stage Gating Program. (Id.) According to the Complaint, Lowe's "abruptly terminated" DCT's contract with Lowe's approximately five weeks after Plaintiff began his work. (Id.) Asa result, on or around February 19, 2014, DCT "was forced to terminate the contract of all the IT consultants placed by Datamatics with them [DCT] (against its will), including Plaintiff." (Id. and 7-8).

On July 3, 2014, Plaintiff Priast, who is pro se, filed a Complaint alleging various federal and state law claims against Datamatics, DCT, and Telfare. (Doc. 1/Compl.). In his Complaint, Plaintiff speculates about possible reasons for the termination of the business relationship between Lowe's and DCT.[5] Plaintiff alleges violation of the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act ("RICO"), 18 U.S.C. § 1962(c), conspiracy to violate RICO, fraud, civil conspiracy to commit fraud, breach of fiduciary duty, Title VII of the Civil Rights Code, and the North Carolina General Statutes, namely, N.C. G.S. § 75-1.1, et seq., and (Compl. 3). Plaintiff seeks to recover monetary damages actual and compensatory - and the trebling of any monetary award, and/or punitive damages. (Compl., 3 and 19-20). All of Plaintiff's claims are related to, or in connection with, the Agreement, the DCT/Lowe's Stage Gating Program, DCT's termination by Lowe's, and the impact of Lowe's decision to terminate its contract with DOT.[6]

The Clerk entered default against Defendant Jeffrey Telfare, Sr., on July 29, 2014. (Doc. 16). Plaintiff immediately sought a default judgment against Defendant Telfare. (Doc. 17). Plaintiff's motion for default judgment has not been ruled on.

On August 6, 2014, Datamatics filed an Answer to Plaintiff's Complaint. (Doc. 19). Plaintiff moved for entry of default and default judgment against Datamatics the same day. (Docs. 23-24). Plaintiff's motions seeking default are rendered moot by way of Datamatics' Answer and other responsive pleadings.

On August 29, 2014, Plaintiff moved for leave to file an Amended Complaint as a matter of course pursuant to Rule 15(a)(1)(B) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. (Doc. 32). Plaintiff's Proposed Amended Complaint seeks to name Thakkar, owner and general manager of DCT, as a defendant in place of the corporate defendant, DCT. Datamatics opposes Plaintiff's motion. (Doc. 36).

Datamatics seeks dismissal in light of a forum-selection clause provided for exclusive jurisdiction within "any court located within Gwinnett County Georgia." (Doc. 34).

Alternatively, Datamatics requests that the case be transferred to the Northern District of Georgia, the federal district that includes Gwinnett County, Georgia. (Doc. 34-1/Def.'s Mem. In Supp.). Both Defendants DCT and Datamatics, or original intended ...

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