United States District Court, D. Minnesota
Allen Beaulieu, individually and d/b/a Allen Beaulieu Photography, Plaintiff,
Clint Stockwell, an individual; Studio 1124, LLC, a Minnesota limited liability company; Thomas Martin Crouse, an individual; Charles Willard “Chuck” Sanvik, an individual and Does 3 through 7, Defendants.
Alexander Farrell, Esq., and Russell M. Spence, Jr, Esq.,
Hellmuth & Johnson PLLC, counsel for Plaintiff.
R. Serdar, Esq., John R. Beattie, Esq., and Kevin D. Hofman,
Esq., Messerli & Kramer P.A., counsel for Defendants
Clint Stockwell, Charles Sanvik, and Studio 1124, LLC.
Michael M. Sawers, Esq., Briggs & Morgan, PA, counsel for
Defendant Thomas Crouse.
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
DONOVAN W. FRANK UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
plaintiff in this case photographed the artist Prince and
then sought to publish those photos. The defendants, under
the guise of helping the plaintiff, took those photos, but
instead are trying to sell them without the plaintiff. This
matter is before the Court on a motion to dismiss from one of
the defendants. For the reasons discussed below, the Court
grants in part and denies in part the motion.
Allen Beaulieu photographed the artist Prince and copyrighted
the photos in 1984. Recently, Beaulieu decided to publish a
book of his Prince photographs. In his efforts to complete
the project, Beaulieu gave Defendant Clint Stockwell
forty-two of the photographs. Later, under the guise of
speeding up the scanning process, Stockwell and Defendant
Crouse took approximately 3, 000 photos from
Beaulieu. Defendants are now trying to sell the
photos and refuse to return them. Beaulieu alleges that
Defendant Sanvik (the movant here) was asked to finance the
project by the other Defendants. (Doc. No. 47 (“Am.
Compl.”) ¶ 62.) Additionally, Beaulieu alleges
that Sanvik has some of the photos and that Sanvik is working
in concert with the other Defendants to withhold the photos
from Beaulieu. (Id. ¶¶ 85, 87.)
Defendants ignored Beaulieu's repeated requests to return
the photos, Beaulieu filed suit alleging a number of
claims. As relevant here, Beaulieu has brought claims against
Sanvik for conversion, tortious interference with a
prospective economic advantage, and injunctive relief. Sanvik
now moves the Court to dismiss for failure to state a claim.
deciding a motion to dismiss under Rule 12(b)(6), a court
assumes all facts in the complaint to be true and construes
all reasonable inferences from those facts in the light most
favorable to the complainant. Morton v. Becker, 793
F.2d 185, 187 (8th Cir. 1986). In doing so, however, a court
need not accept as true wholly conclusory allegations,
Hanten v. Sch. Dist. of Riverview Gardens, 183 F.3d
799, 805 (8th Cir. 1999), or legal conclusions drawn by the
pleader from the facts alleged, Westcott v. City of
Omaha, 901 F.2d 1486, 1488 (8th Cir. 1990). A court
deciding a motion to dismiss may consider the complaint,
matters of public record, orders, materials embraced by the
complaint, and exhibits attached to the complaint. See
Porous Media Corp. v. Pall Corp., 186 F.3d 1077, 1079
(8th Cir. 1999).
survive a motion to dismiss, a complaint must contain
“enough facts to state a claim to relief that is
plausible on its face.” Bell Atl. Corp. v.
Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 570 (2007). Although a complaint
need not contain “detailed factual allegations, ”
it must contain facts with enough specificity “to raise
a right to relief above the speculative level.”
Id. at 555. As the Supreme Court reiterated,
“[t]hreadbare recitals of the elements of a cause of
action, supported by mere conclusory statements, ” will
not pass muster under Twombly. Ashcroft v.
Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009) (citing
Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555). In sum, this standard
“calls for enough fact[s] to raise a reasonable
expectation that discovery will reveal evidence of [the
claim].” Twombly, 550 U.S. at