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Baronowski v. Parker

United States District Court, D. Connecticut

July 30, 2018

PATRICIA BARANOWSKI et al., Plaintiffs,
v.
LIZA PARKER et al., Defendants.

          RULING AND ORDER ON MOTION TO DISMISS AND MOTION FOR DEFAULT JUDGMENT

          VICTOR A. BOLDEN, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.

         Patricia Baranowski and Pristine Advisers, LLC (collectively “Plaintiffs”) have sued Liza Parker, Thunderbird Investing, LLC, and All-Wing Cooperative, LLC (collectively “Defendants”), alleging breach of contract, fraud, unjust enrichment, and debt.

         Defendants have moved to dismiss the Complaint. Plaintiffs have moved for entry of default judgment against All-Wing Cooperative, LLC.

         For the following reasons, the motion to dismiss is DENIED. The motion for default judgment is DENIED without prejudice.

         I. FACTUAL AND PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND

         Plaintiffs have sued Defendants seeking resolution of a contract dispute. Ms. Baranowski (also known as Patricia Baronowski-Schneider) is a resident of the State of New York. Compl. ¶ 1. Pristine Advisers, LLC, organized under the laws of the State of New York, maintains its principle place of business in New York. Id. ¶ 2. Plaintiffs allege that Ms. Parker (also known as Liza Jane Parker) is a resident of the State of Connecticut and that both Thunderbird Investing, LLC, and All-Wing Cooperative, LLC, are organized under the laws of Connecticut and maintain their principal place of business there. Id. ¶¶ 3-5.

         A. Factual Allegations

         In June of 2016, Plaintiffs allege that Plaintiffs and Defendants allegedly entered into an oral agreement for Plaintiffs to loan Defendants $97, 000. Id. ¶ 9. Plaintiffs allegedly expected to be repaid in full by October of 2016.

         On August 4, 2016, the parties allegedly executed a written contract memorializing the oral agreement for Plaintiffs to loan $97, 000 to Defendants, and to repay it in full before October of 2016. Id. ¶¶ 10, 15. Although Plaintiffs allegedly loaned the money as promised under the parties' agreement, Defendants have not repaid any of the money lent to them. Id. ¶¶ 11, 16.

         Plaintiffs further allege that, when they entered into the parties' agreement, Defendants “knew they were not seeking to borrow funds” but instead, were “orchestrating a scam to secure funds from Plaintiffs with no intention of ever returning any such funds obtained from Plaintiffs.” Id. ¶ 21. Defendants allegedly knew that Defendants did not intend to invest Plaintiffs' funds and had no intention of ever returning such funds or any return on the investment. Id. ¶ 22. Defendants allegedly knew these representations were false, knew that the representations were made with the purpose of deceiving Plaintiffs, and knew that Plaintiffs relied upon their representations. Id. ¶¶ 23-24.

         B. Procedural Background

         Plaintiffs' lawsuit, brought under under 28 U.S.C. § 1332 and seeking to invoke diversity jurisdiction, raises five separate claims: (1) breach of an oral contract (Count One); (2) breach of a written contract (Count Two); (3) common-law fraud (Counter Three); (4) unjust enrichment (Count Four); and (5) action in debt (Count Five). Plaintiffs seek judgment against Defendants, jointly and severally (1) in the principal amount of the debt, namely $97, 500; (2) the agreed upon transaction fee of $15, 000; (3) pre-and-post judgment interest; and (4) reasonable attorneys' fees and costs.

         On April 25, 2018, default entered against All-Wing Cooperative, LLC. ECF No. 14. On May 29, 2018, on behalf of Defendants, and proceeding pro se, Ms. Parker moved to dismiss the Complaint. ECF No. 34.

         II. STANDARD OF REVIEW

         Pro se filings “must be construed liberally and interpreted to raise the strongest arguments that they suggest.” Sykes v. Bank of Am., 723 F.3d 399, 403 (2d Cir. 2013) (internal quotation marks omitted) (quoting Triestman v. Fed. Bureau of Prisons, 470 F.3d 471, 474 (2d Cir. 2006)); see also Tracy v. Freshwater, 623 F.3d 90, 101-02 (2d Cir. 2010) (discussing the “special solicitude” courts ...


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