United States District Court, D. Delaware
M. Katona, POLSINELLI, Wilmington, DE; Ryan J. Schletzbaum
(argued), SHOOK, HARDY & BACON L.L.P., Kansas City, MO;
Robert H. Reckers, SHOOK, HARDY & BACON L.L.P., Houston,
TX. Attorneys for Plaintiff.
E. Farnan, RICHARDS, LAYTON & FINGER, P.A., Wilmington,
DE; Luke L. Dauchot, KIRKLAND & ELLIS LLP, Chicago, IL;
David Benyacar and Robert J. Katerberg (argued), ARNOLD &
PORTER KAYE SCHOLER LLP, New York, NY. Attorneys for
Defendant Charter Communications, Inc.
A. Rovner, POTTER ANDERSON & CORROON LLP, Wilmington, DE;
Brian M. Buroker (argued), GIBSON, DUNN & CRUTCHER LLP,
Washington, D.C. Attorneys for Defendant Frontier
Communications Corporation. March /, 2019
ANDREWS, U.S. DISTRICT JUDGE
before me are Plaintiffs Motions to Strike Defendants'
Inequitable Conduct Defenses and Dismiss Their Walker
Process Claims. (C.A. 17-1734, D.I. 38; C.A. 18-536,
D.I. 21). The Parties have fully briefed the issues. (C.A.
17-1734, D.I. 39, 49, 54, 60, 62; C.A. 18-536, D.I. 22, 32,
37). I heard oral argument on January 22, 2019. (C.A.
17-1734, D.I. 95 ("Tr.")). For the reasons set out
below, I will deny Plaintiffs Motions as to the inequitable
conduct defenses and grant its motion as to the Walker
filed suit against Charter on December 1, 2017. (C.A. 17-1734,
D.I. 1). Plaintiff filed an amended complaint on December 15,
2017 which alleges that Charter infringes fifteen
patents. (C.A. 17-1734, D.I. 14). In its answer
filed on June 19, 2018, Charter asserts inequitable conduct
defenses against nine of the patents and raises a Walker
Process counterclaim. (C.A. 17-1734, D.I. 33).
filed suit against Frontier on April 10, 2018 which alleges
that Frontier infringes the same fifteen patents. (C.A.
18-536, D.I. 1). On July 6, 2018, Frontier filed an amended
answer which asserts inequitable conduct defenses against the
same nine patents as the Charter Defendants and raises a
Walker Process counterclaim. (C.A. 18-536, D.I. 17).
filed the present motions on July 24, 2018 (C.A. 17-1734,
D.I. 38) and July 27, 2018 (C.A. 18-536, D.I. 21). The
motions seek to strike Defendants' inequitable conduct
affirmative defenses pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil
Procedure 12(f) and to dismiss the Walker Process
counterclaims for failing to state a claim pursuant Rule
12(b)(6). (D.I. 39 at l).
Motion to Dismiss
Rule of Civil Procedure 8 requires a complainant to provide
"a short and plain statement of the claim showing that
the pleader is entitled to relief. .. ." Fed.R.Civ.P.
8(a)(2). Rule 12(b)(6) allows the accused party to bring a
motion to dismiss the claim for failing to meet this
standard. A Rule 12(b)(6) motion may be granted only if,
accepting the well-pleaded allegations in the complaint as
true and viewing them in the light most favorable to the
complainant, a court concludes that those allegations
"could not raise a claim of entitlement to relief"
Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 558
'detailed factual allegations' are not required, a
complaint must do more than simply provide 'labels and
conclusions' or 'a formulaic recitation of the
elements of a cause of action.'" Davis v.
Abington Mem'l Hosp., 765 F.3d 236, 241 (3d Cir.
2014) (quoting Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555). I am
"not required to credit bald assertions or legal
conclusions improperly alleged in the complaint." In
re Rockefeller Ctr. Props., Inc. Sec. Litig., 311 F.3d
198, 216 (3d Cir. 2002). A complaint may not be dismissed,
however, "for imperfect statement of the legal theory
supporting the claim asserted." See Johnson v. City
of Shelby, 135 S.Ct. 346, 346 (2014).
complainant must plead facts sufficient to show that a claim
has "substantive plausibility." Id. at
347. That plausibility must be found on the face of the
complaint. Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678
(2009). "A claim has facial plausibility when the
[complainant] pleads factual content that allows the court to
draw the reasonable inference that the [accused] is liable
for the misconduct alleged." Id. Deciding
whether a claim is plausible will be a "context-specific
task that requires the reviewing court to draw on its
judicial experience and common sense." Id. at
adds a heightened pleading standard for allegations of fraud.
It states, "In alleging fraud or mistake, a party must
state with particularity the circumstances constituting fraud
or mistake." Fed.R.Civ.P. 9(b). Although,
"[m]alice, intent, knowledge, and other conditions of a
person's mind may be alleged generally."
Id. Rule 9(b) requires a complainant to plead
"all of the essential factual background that would
accompany the first paragraph of any newspaper story-that is,
the who, what, when, where and how of the events at
issue." In re Rockefeller, 311 F.3d at 217
(internal quotation marks omitted). Rule 9(b) requires a
complainant to provide both a "theoretically viable
claim" and the factual allegations that make it
plausible. Id. at 216 (emphasis in original