United States District Court, D. Kansas
PTI GROUP, INC. and GROUP SERVICES LIMITED, Plaintiffs,
GIFT CARD IMPRESSIONS, LLC and BRETT GLASS, Defendants.
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
CARLOS MURGUIA, District Judge.
Plaintiffs PTI Group, Inc. and Group Services Limited ("GSL") bring this action against defendants Gift Card Impressions, LLC ("GCI") and Brett Glass. GSL and GCI previously had a business relationship. That relationship deteriorated. Instead of immediately initiating litigation, however, the parties entered into a settlement agreement-one that ultimately did not accomplish its purpose.
The dispute now before the court arises out of that settlement agreement. GCI and Mr. Glass became convinced that GSL had committed fraud in reaching the settlement agreement. To remedy the perceived problem, GCI and Mr. Glass started asking for additional money. In response, GSL brought this action, claiming that GCI and Mr. Glass breached the settlement agreement; engaged in business defamation; and violated the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act, 18 U.S.C. § 1962(c) ("RICO"). The court now takes up a motion filed by GCI and Mr. Glass: Defendants' Motion to Dismiss RICO Claims Pursuant to Rule 12(b)(6) (Doc. 30).
I. Factual Background
A full history of the factual basis for the case is unnecessary for resolution of the instant motion (which is limited to the RICO claims). Instead, a brief summary of the actions relevant to plaintiffs' RICO claims is sufficient. The following timeline is highly summarized and generalized, for background purposes only. The court has considered the allegations in the complaint in the light most favorable to plaintiffs-even those allegations not mentioned below.
March 2012: The parties entered into the settlement agreement, under which GSL paid GCI a little over $100, 000. GCI released GSL of all debts and GSL agreed to cooperate with GCI in investigating claims that GCI might have against other parties. GCI and GSL also agreed not to disparage each other.
November 2012: After GCI requested information from GSL and did not receive it, GCI filed suit against GSL (another federal suit-not the one presently before the court).
September 2013: GCI dismissed its suit after failing to serve process on GSL.
October 22, 2013: Mr. Glass wrote an email to Victor Leung, co-founder of GSL, stating that he believed that GSL owed GCI money and was not forthcoming with "accurate and honest information." (Doc. 27 at 11.) Further, Mr. Glass stated:
Usually, when a party does not pay another party or takes things they are not entitled to it creates strong negative feelings. I know you had to face this before when a tin factory felt GSL owed them money and sent collectors' out to get their money. I am sure this was very uncomfortable and it was ultimately solved when the money was finally paid.... This problem won't ever go away until it is made right.
( Id. at 13.)
November 7, 2013: Mr. Glass made disparaging statements about GSL and Todd Grisoff (one of GSL's founders) to an employee of another company. He also emailed Mr. Leung again, accusing him of overcharging and lying about it. Mr. Glass assured Mr. Leung that "[t]his will continue to escalate until all monies and legal fees are returned to GCI" and that GCI "will chase this down in the US, in China and also in Hong Kong through every way possible until this money is paid back." ( Id. at 14.) Finally, Mr. Glass cautioned, "Please do not doubt the many alternatives we have to collect our money... PLEASE do not force our hand any further, but know we will take it much further if given no other choice." ( Id. ) He concluded his email to Mr. Leung stating, "Either do the right thing quickly or you will be held responsible for the consequences." ( Id. )
December 11, 2013: Mr. Glass continued writing emails to others, disparaging GSL. He also suggested that the others should tell GSL to pay the purported debt quickly. And he hired the Hong Kong-based law firm of Robinsons, Lawyers, who delivered a letter to Mr. Leung demanding payment and stating that GCI would engage a collection agent if GSL did not pay $100, 000 to GCI.
January 22, 2014: "Collectors" arrived at GSL's Hong Kong office. The court will not repeat the details of the scene here, but plaintiffs allege that two men "aggressively menaced GSL's employees." ( Id. at 16.) They demanded a payment of $140, 000 from GSL's owners, implying that if the money was not paid within a week, two more men ...