Nova Design Build, Inc. v. Grace Hotels, LLC., No. 08 C 2855, Slip Op. (N.D. Ill. Mar. 25, 2009) (Der-Yeghiayan, J.).

Judge Der-Yeghiayan granted in part and denied in part plaintiffs’ Fed. R. Civ. P. 12(b)(6) motion to dismiss defendants’ counterclaim copyright infringement case. Plaintiffs claimed that they developed plans for a Holiday Inn Express hotel defendants planned to build, and that defendants infringed the copyrights in plaintiffs’ plans by revising them with another firm and using them without plaintiffs’ permission. The Court previously held that plaintiffs’ copyright claim was sufficiently pled — click here for more on that opinion and the case generally in the Blog’s archives.  After that opinion, defendants answered the complaint and filed a counterclaim seeking among other things declaratory relief.  The Court dismissed the counterclaim as to plaintiff Annex whom defendants agreed should be dismissed.  And the Court struck defendants’ request that plaintiffs’ complaint be struck because the Court already denied defendants’ Rule 12(b)(6) motion to dismiss.

But the Court denied to dismiss defendants’ counterclaim.  Plaintiffs argued that the counterclaim should be dismissed because it was not clearly pled, the legal basis was not specifically identified and it lacked factual detail.  But the Court held that notice pleading did not require good grammar or organization, nor were specific facts required.  Because defendants’ counterclaim put plaintiffs on notice that their copyright was allegedly a derivative works to which defendants maintained certain rights.  To the extent plaintiffs believed additional information, the appropriate remedy was a Rule 12(e) motion for a more definite statement.  But the Court noted that a more definite statement was not required in this case because defendants’ counterclaim put plaintiffs on notice.