United States District Court, S.D. Georgia, Sabannah Division.
ANN EDENFIELD LEMLEY, Individually and as Administrator of the Estate of WILLIAM JACOB WADE, Deceased, Plaintiff,
RED BULL NORTH AMERICA, INC., . Defendant.
GODBEY WOOD, JUDGE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT SOUTHERN
DISTRICT OF GEORGIA
the Court in this products liability and wrongful death case
is Defendant Red Bull North America, Inc.'s ("Red
Bull, Inc.") Motion to Dismiss, dkt. no. 12. For the
reasons stated below, it is DENIED.
Court assumes the truth of the facts alleged in the
complaint. Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(6). Red Bull, Inc. designed,
manufactured, tested, marketed, and distributed the famous
energy drink "Red Bull." Dkt. No. 1 ¶ 2. Red
Bull contains caffeine and taurine. Id. ¶ 31.
Red Bull, Inc. markets Red Bull as "provid[ing] benefits
to consumers in that it 'gives [them] wings'
resulting in increased physical and/or mental
performance.'' Id. ¶ 25. Red Bull and
similar energy drinks have been the subject of media, legal,
and medical scrutiny for their supposed role in heart
problems-some fatal. Id. ¶¶ 10-23.
William Jacob Wade started drinking four twelve-ounce cans of
Red Bull a day beginning in 2009. Id. ¶ 6. He
did so on August 7, 2014 at 8:00 PM, then again the next
morning. Id. ¶ 7. Thereafter, he was found
unresponsive. Id. He was pronounced dead due to
aortic dissection at 2:00 PM on August 8, 2014. Id.
Ann Edenfield Lemley filed this suit on February 23, 2017.
Dkt. No. 1. She alleged strict-liability design defect and
failure to warn; negligent design, manufacture, and sale;
negligent failure to warn; fraud; and wrongful death. See
Bull, Inc. moved to dismiss for failure to state a claim on
March 24, 2017. Dkt. No. 12. The motion is fully briefed and
ripe for decision. Dkt. Nos. 12-1, 18, 20.
complaint must be "a short and plain statement of the
claim showing that the pleader is entitled to relief."
Fed.R.Civ.P. 8(a)(2). It must go beyond "labels and
conclusions, and a formulaic recitation of the elements of a
cause of action." Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly,
550 U.S. 544, 555 (2007). It has to "contain inferential
allegations from which [the court] can identify each of the
material elements necessary to sustain a recovery under some
viable legal theory." Roe v. Aware Woman Ctr. for
Choice, Inc., 253 F.3d 678, 684 (11th Cir. 2001) .
"Factual allegations must be enough to raise a right to
relief above the speculative level . . . ."
Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555. They must send a case
across the threshold from possibility to plausibility.
Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009).
Bull, Inc.'s motion to dismiss will be denied. Red Bull,
Inc.'s only arguments are that the complaint is a shotgun
pleading and it does not adequately plead fraud. Neither
THE COMPLAINT IS NOT A SHOTGUN PLEADING.
Bull, Inc. unpersuasively characterizes the complaint as an
improper shotgun pleading. Dkt. No. 12-1 at 8-9.
Specifically, Red Bull, Inc. says the complaint improperly
has each count "incorporate[ ] by reference all
preceding and all subsequent paragraphs." Id.
at 8; see also Dkt. No. 20 at 5. That accusation
does line up with one of the four species of shotgun
pleadings recently recognized by the Eleventh Circuit.
Weiland v. Palm Beach Cty. Sheriff's Office, 792
F.3d 1313, 1321 (11th Cir. 2015) . But it misses what is
actually wrong with a shotgun pleading-that such a complaint
"fail[s] to one degree or another, and in one way or
another, to give the defendant[ ] adequate notice of the
claims against [it] and the grounds upon which each claim
rests." Id. at 1323. Here, the complaint just
"provides a detailed factual background, and then
reincorporates that background . . . into each count. The
allegations are not so vague that Defendants cannot respond,
" and they are "properly separated" into
different counts. Homonai v. City of Fruitland Park,
No. 5:16-CV-610, 2017 WL 1495806, at *3 (M.D. Fla. Apr. 26,
2017). Thus, the complaint is not a shotgun pleading. See
id.; Fed.R.Civ.P. 10(c) ("A statement in a pleading
may be adopted by reference elsewhere in the same pleading .
. . ."); Wright & Miller, Fed. Prac. & Proc.
Civ. § 1326 (3d ed.) ("Facts alleged in
connection with one count, defense, or paragraph may be
incorporated by reference in a different count, defense, or
paragraph of the same pleading. . . . When the pleader
asserts several claims for relief or defenses that rest on a
common factual pattern, incorporation by reference eliminates
any unnecessary repetition of the transactions and events
upon which the pleader relies." (footnotes omitted)).
THE FRAUD CLAIM ...