Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

Lo v. AT&T Inc.

United States District Court, D. Connecticut

January 29, 2018

DAVID LO, Plaintiff,
v.
AT&T SERVICES, INC., Defendants.

          RULING RE: MOTION TO DISMISS (DOC. NO. 13)

          Janet C. Hall, United States District Judge.

         I. INTRODUCTION

         The plaintiff, David Lo, filed the Complaint against the defendant, AT&T Services, Inc. (“AT&T”), on March 9, 2017. See Complaint (“Compl.”) (Doc. No. 1). Lo asserts the following four claims: breach of settlement agreement (Count One), breach of the implied covenant of good faith and fair dealing (Count Two), promissory estoppel (Count Three), and negligent misrepresentation (Count Four). See id. On June 23, 2017, AT&T filed a Motion to Dismiss Counts Three and Four of the Complaint. See Motion to Dismiss (“Mot. to Dismiss”) (Doc. No. 13). In reviewing the Motion, the court questioned whether it had jurisdiction and ordered Lo to file an additional pleading advising the court of its basis for subject matter jurisdiction. See Order (“First Order”) (Doc. No. 27).

         The court does not reach the merits of AT&T's Motion to Dismiss. Instead, the court concludes that it does not have subject matter jurisdiction over the causes of action asserted here. Lo's claims are more properly brought before the Connecticut state court, and this court therefore dismisses the case.

         II. BACKGROUND

         On March 9, 2017, Lo filed a Complaint against AT&T, alleging the following facts. See Compl. Lo was previously an employee of AT&T. See id. at ¶ 7. On October 31, 2012, he filed various claims against AT&T with the Connecticut Commission on Human Rights and Opportunities (“CHRO”). See id. at ¶ 8. On January 7, 2014, Lo and counsel for AT&T participated in mandatory mediation with the CHRO and entered into an agreement resolving Lo's CHRO claims. See id. at ¶¶ 9, 10. Lo signed an agreement accepting AT&T's standard retirement package, which he terms Lump Sum Offer 2. See id. at ¶ 13.

         Lo alleges that he and counsel for AT&T also agreed to additional terms that would be set forth in writing in an additional agreement. See id. at ¶ 14. One of those additional terms was that Lo would receive an additional sum of $37, 500.00. See Id. He alleges that, in reliance on AT&T's representations in addition to the signed Lump Sum Offer 2, he resigned from AT&T and withdrew his CHRO complaint. See id. After continued negotiations in the following months, a Final Settlement Agreement including the additional terms was drafted, but AT&T refused to sign the Final Settlement Agreement. See id. at ¶ 29. In his Complaint, Lo claims the following four state law causes of action: breach of settlement agreement (Count One), breach of the implied covenant of good faith and fair dealing (Count Two), promissory estoppel (Count Three), and negligent misrepresentation (Count Four). See id. at ¶¶ 31-76.

         On June 23, 2017, AT&T filed a Motion to Dismiss Counts Three and Four. See Mot. to Dismiss. AT&T argues that Lo executed a General Release and Waiver as part of the Lump Sum Offer 2, which releases the claims asserted in Counts Three and Four. See Memorandum in Support of Motion to Dismiss (Doc. No. 14). AT&T also argues that the claims of promissory estoppel and negligent misrepresentation cannot be based on the promise of future negotiations. See id.

         After reviewing the Complaint and the Motion to Dismiss, the court was unable to determine from the pleadings whether the court had subject matter jurisdiction over Lo's claims. The Complaint asserted that the court had diversity jurisdiction pursuant to section 1332 of title 28 of the United States Code. See Compl. at ¶ 2 (“The jurisdiction of this court is founded upon 28 U.S.C. § 1332, in that the Plaintiff and Defendant reside in different states and the amount in controversy exceeds $75, 000.00.”). However, besides this general statement, the Complaint did not plead any facts indicating that the final amount in controversy exceeded $75, 000. See First Order at 1. Rather, Lo alleged that the Final Settlement Agreement initially contemplated a sum of $37, 500, which was increased after further negotiations, but does not plead that he suffered any other damages. See Compl. at ¶¶ 14, 17. Additionally, the Complaint alleged that AT&T was headquartered in Texas, but did not indicate where it was incorporated. See id. at ¶ 5; 28 U.S.C. § 1332(c)(1) (deeming a corporation to be a citizen of each state in which it is incorporated and of the state where it has its principal place of business). The court issued an Order requiring Lo to file a pleading addressing these issues. See First Order.

         In response to the court's First Order, Lo filed a Pleading re: Subject Matter Jurisdiction on November 28, 2017. See Pleading re: Subject Matter Jurisdiction (“Pleading re: SMJ”) (Doc. No. 29). In it, Lo states that he is claiming an amount of $37, 500 for the breach of the settlement agreement, and “separate damages for his negligent misrepresentation claim and breach of the implied covenant of good faith and fair dealing claim, exceeding the $75, 000.00 threshold.” Id. at 2. According to Lo, the remedy for these claims, which he argues amounts to “the actual pecuniary loss sustained by the plaintiff, ” is independent of the remedy for his breach of contract claim. See id. at 1-2. He further alleges that AT&T has store locations in Connecticut, but does not have its principal place of business in Connecticut. See id. at 2. He attached an exhibit indicating that AT&T is incorporated in Delaware. See id., Ex. A, at 1.

         Because Lo's Pleading did not sufficiently resolve the issues raised in the court's First Order, the court issued another Order on December 5, 2017. See Order (“Second Order”) (Doc. No. 30). In it, the court ordered Lo to state, inter alia, the “basis on which Lo asserts that the ‘actual pecuniary loss' from his claims for negligent misrepresentation and breach of the implied covenant of good faith and fair dealing would reasonably be expected to exceed $37, 500 in order to satisfy the total amount in controversy of more than $75, 000.00.” Id. at 1.

         In response to the court's Second Order, Lo filed an Amended Complaint on December 15, 2017. See Amended Complaint (“First Am. Compl.”) (Doc. No. 31). The Amended Complaint was identical to the initial Complaint except for the following. Lo clarified that AT&T was incorporated in Delaware with its primary place of business in Texas. See id. at ¶ 5. Lo also alleged that he suffered damages in the amount of $37, 500 for AT&T's breach of the settlement agreement under Count One and damages “in an amount of, at least, of [sic] $37, 500” for AT&T's negligent misrepresentation under Count Four. See id. at ¶¶ 51, 76. Lo did not specify a basis for the $37, 500 in damages for negligent misrepresentation. Regarding Counts Two and Three, the Amended Complaint merely asserts respectively that Lo was “damaged” and “damaged in an amount to be determined at trial, ” without indicating any basis for the alleged damage. See id. at ¶¶ 59, 65.

         The court issued another Order on December 19, 2017, again ordering Lo to identify “any actual pecuniary loss caused by the negligent misrepresentation that would not result in double recovery for the same injury” as the damages for the alleged breach of contract. See Order (“Third Order”) (Doc. No. 32) at 2. In response, Lo filed a Second Amended Complaint on January 12, 2018. See Second Amended Complaint (“Second Am. Compl.”) (Doc. No. 41). The Second Amended Complaint differs from the Amended Complaint only in that it states the following regarding the damages alleged for negligent misrepresentation: “The Plaintiff suffered pecuniary loss as a result of his reliance on the Defendant's negligent misrepresentation, which pecuniary loss includes the loss of $37, 500.00.” Id. at ¶ 76.

         III. ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.