Krawiec v. Manly

IN THE SUPREME COURT OF NORTH CAROLINA No. 252A16 Filed 6 April 2018 MICHAEL KRAWIEC, JENNIFER KRAWIEC, and HAPPY DANCE, INC./CMT DANCE, INC. (d/b/a FRED ASTAIRE FRANCHISED DANCE STUDIOS) v. JIM MANLY, MONETTE MANLY, METROPOLITAN BALLROOM, LLC, RANKO BOGOSAVAC, and DARINKA DIVLJAK Appeal pursuant to N.C.G.S. § 7A-27(a)(3)(a) from an order dated 22 January 2016 entered by Judge Louis A. Bledsoe, III, Special Superior Court Judge for Complex Business Cases appointed by the Chief Justice pursuant to N.C.G.S. § 7A-45.4, in Superior Court, Mecklenburg County. Heard in the Supreme Court on 30 August 2017. Hatcher Legal, PLLC, by Erin B. Blackwell and Nichole M. Hatcher, for plaintiff-appellants. Brock & Scott, PLLC, by Renner St. John, for defendant-appellees. JACKSON, Justice. In this case we consider whether plaintiffs have stated claims for tortious interference with contract, misappropriation of trade secrets, unfair and deceptive practices, civil conspiracy, and unjust enrichment sufficient to survive defendants’ motions to dismiss pursuant to North Carolina Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6). See N.C.G.S. § 1A-1, Rule 12(b)(6) (2017). Because we conclude that plaintiffs’ amended complaint reveals the absence of law or facts essential to these claims, or alleges facts KRAWIEC V. MANLY Opinion of the Court that necessarily defeat these claims, we affirm the portions of the North Carolina Business Court’s 22 January 2016 Order and Opinion on Defendants’ Motions to Dismiss Amended Complaint dismissing the claims listed above. According to the factual allegations in plaintiffs’ amended complaint, which we take as true for purposes of reviewing an order on a motion to dismiss pursuant to Rule 12(b)(6), see State ex rel. Cooper v. Ridgeway Brands Mfg., LLC, 362 N.C. 431, 442, 666 S.E.2d 107, 114 (2008) (quoting Stein v. Asheville City Bd. of Educ., 360 N.C. 321, 325, 626 S.E.2d 263, 266 (2006)), plaintiffs Michael Krawiec and Jennifer Krawiec are residents and citizens of North Carolina who own plaintiff Happy Dance, Inc./CMT Dance, Inc. (Happy Dance)—a North Carolina corporation doing business as Fred Astaire Franchised Dance Studios in Forsyth County. Defendants Jim Manly and Monette Manly own defendant Metropolitan Ballroom, LLC (Metropolitan Ballroom) (collectively, the Metropolitan defendants), which is a North Carolina limited liability company doing business in Mecklenburg County. Defendants Ranko Bogosavac, a citizen of Bosnia and Herzegovina, and Darinka Divljak, a Serbian citizen, (the dancer defendants) were employed by plaintiffs pursuant to O1-B nonimmigrant work visas. On or about 18 July 2011, plaintiffs entered into contracts with Bogosavac and Divljak pursuant to which plaintiffs procured the visas in exchange for each dancer’s express promise to work exclusively for plaintiffs as a dance instructor and performer. -2- KRAWIEC V. MANLY Opinion of the Court Bogosavac, who previously had been employed by plaintiffs, was to work exclusively for plaintiffs from 31 January 2012 to 3 January 2013, and Divljak was to do the same from 1 September 2011 to 31 August 2014. The dancer defendants also agreed not to work for any other company that offered dance instruction or competed against Happy Dance for one year after ...

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