United States District Court, S.D. Georgia, Savannah Division
THE FORD PLANTATION CLUB, INC. and THE FORD PLANTATION ASSOCIATION, INC., Plaintiffs and Counter-Defendants,
MICHAEL L. SCOTT and NANCY J. SCOTT, Defendants and Counter-Claimants .
WILLIAM T. MOORE, JR, UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT.
the Court is Plaintiffs and Counter-Defendants The Ford
Plantation Club, Inc. and The Ford Plantation Association,
Inc.'s Motion to Dismiss Counterclaim. (Doc. 6.) For the
following reasons, Plaintiffs' motion is
GRANTED. As a result, Defendants and
Counter-Claimants Michael L. Scott and Nancy J. Scott's
counterclaim for deceit is DISMISSED.
case involves Defendants' purchase of real property in
the Ford Plantation development. Plaintiff Ford Plantation
Association ("Association") is responsible for the
operation and maintenance of the common areas in the
development. (Doc. 4 ¶ 2.) Plaintiff Ford Plantation
Club ("Club") is the entity responsible for the
management of various social and leisure amenities offered to
individuals that own property in the development and have
been accepted for membership in the Club. (Doc. 1, Compl.
¶ 5.) Both Plaintiffs Association and Club charge
monthly fees and periodic assessments for the maintenance of
these common areas and amenities. (Id. ¶¶
2002, Defendants purchased property within the development,
later becoming members of Plaintiff Club. (Doc. 4,
¶¶ 6, 9.) As a result, Defendants were obligated to
pay the various required fees and assessments. (Doc. 1,
Compl. ¶¶ 8, 9.) However, Defendants have failed to
pay these expenses. (Id. ¶¶ 12, 20.)
filed suit in the Superior Court of Bryan County alleging
that Defendants breached their contracts with Plaintiffs.
(Id.) The complaint seeks over $150, 000 in unpaid
fees, assessments, late fees, and interest. (Id.
¶ 25.) Pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1332, Defendants
invoked this Court's diversity jurisdiction and removed
the case to this Court. (Doc. 1.)
their answer, Defendants included a counterclaim for
deceit. (Doc. 4 at 7.) Defendants contend that at
the time they entered into these contracts, Plaintiffs
"made a number of affirmative representations to the
Defendants regarding the manner in which the Club and The
Association would be operated, the manner in which amenities
would be provided and the manner in which the property would
be maintained." (Id. at 8.) Defendants also
allege that Plaintiffs provided them with a current and
future value of the property, including its marketability and
resale value. (Id. at 9.) Defendants maintain that
these statements were "false and fraudulent
misrepresentations  made for the sole purpose of inducing
Defendants to enter into the contract for the purchase of the
property in The Ford Plantation with the resulting
obligations to The Club and The Association."
(Id. at 10.)
their Motion to Dismiss, Plaintiffs argue that
Defendants' counterclaim fails because it was not filed
within the applicable four-year statute of limitations
contained in O.C.G.A. § 9-3-31. (Doc. 6 at 2.) Also,
Plaintiffs maintain that even if Defendants' allegations
are true, the alleged statements are only opinions on future
performance. (Id. at 3.) As a result, those
statements are merely sales puffery and not actionable as
their short response, Defendants appear to argue that the
statute of limitations was tolled pursuant to O.C.G.A. §
9-3-96 because Plaintiffs' failure to sue members until
2014 "constitutes a fraud that would toll the statute of
limitations so as to render the  counterclaim timely."
(Doc. 7 at 2.) Surprisingly, this is really the extent of
Defendants' response, which fails to include a single
citation to any legal authority at all, much less one that
would support their position. Moreover, Defendants completely
failed to address Plaintiffs' contention that the facts
alleged in support of Defendants' counterclaim are only
sales puffing and not an actionable fraud claim.
STANDARD OF REVIEW
Rule of Civil Procedure 8(a)(2) requires a complaint to
contain "a short and plain statement of the claim
showing that the pleader is entitled to relief."
"[T]he pleading standard Rule 8 announces does not
require 'detailed factual allegations, ' but it
demands more than an unadorned,
Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009) (quoting
Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555
(2007)). "A pleading that offers 'labels and
conclusions' or a 'formulaic recitation of the
elements of a cause of action will not do.' "
Id. (quoting Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555) .
"Nor does a complaint suffice if it tenders 'naked
assertion[s]' devoid of 'further factual
enhancement.' " Id. (quoting
Twombly, 550 U.S. at 557) (alteration in original).
survive a motion to dismiss, a complaint must contain
sufficient factual matter, accepted as true, to 'state a
claim to relief that is plausible on its face.' "
Id. (quoting Twombly, 550 U.S. at 570). For
a claim to have facial plausibility, the plaintiff must plead
factual content that "allows the court to draw the
reasonable inference that the defendant is liable for the
misconduct alleged." Sinaltrainal v. Coca-Cola
Co., 578 F.3d 1252, 1261 (11th Cir. 2009) (quotations
omitted) (quoting Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678).
Plausibility does not require probability, "but it asks
for more than a sheer possibility that a defendant has acted
unlawfully." Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678.
"Where a complaint pleads facts that are 'merely
consistent with' a defendant's liability, it
'stops short of the line between possibility and
plausibility of entitlement to relief.' "
Id. (quoting Twombly, 550 U.S. at 557).
Additionally, a complaint is sufficient only if it gives
"fair notice of what the . . . claim is and the grounds
upon which it rests." Sinaltrainal, 578 F.3d at
1268 (quotations omitted) (quoting Twombly, 550 U.S.
the Court considers a motion to dismiss, it accepts the
well-pleaded facts in the complaint as true.
Sinaltrainal, 578 F.3d 1252 at 1260. However, this
Court is "not bound to accept as true a legal conclusion
couched as a factual allegation." Iqbal, 556
U.S. at 678. Moreover, "unwarranted deductions of fact
in a complaint are not admitted as true for the purpose of
testing the sufficiency of [plaintiff's]
allegations." Sinaltrainal, 578 F.3d at 1268
(citing Aldana v. Del Monte Fresh Produce, N.A.,
Inc., 416 F.3d 1242, 1248 (11th Cir. 2005)). That is,
"[t]he rule 'does not impose a probability
requirement at the pleading stage, ' but instead simply
calls for enough facts to raise a reasonable expectation that