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Manion v. Green

United States District Court, Fifth Circuit

January 23, 2014

TOMMY MANION, TOMMY MANION OF TEXAS, INC. and KYLE THOMAS MANION, Plaintiffs,
v.
JOE GREEN, INDIVIDUALLY Defendant. MAGIC CROSS RANCH, L.P. Plaintiff,
v.
TOMMY MANION, TOMMY MANION OF TEXAS, INC., and KYLE THOMAS MANION Defendants.

REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION OF UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE

DON D. BUSH, Magistrate Judge.

Now before the Court is Plaintiffs' Motion for Summary Judgment as to All Claims (Dkt. 50). In the motion, Plaintiffs seek entry of final judgment against Defendants Joe Green and Magic Cross Ranch, L.P. Specifically, Plaintiffs ask the Court to enter a money judgment against Green for his past due obligations in the amount of $103, 340.73 through June 17, 2013, plus estimated additional costs for horses still in Plaintiffs' care in the amount of $60 per day until judgment is entered. Plaintiffs also ask the Court to grant them declaratory relief confirming their right to foreclose on several horses and to offset the amount received against the money judgment. Plaintiffs also seek an award of fees and costs. As set forth below, the Court finds that the motion should be GRANTED and that judgment should be entered for Plaintiffs.

Plaintiffs Tommy Manion of Texas, Inc., Tommy Manion, and Kyle Manion originally filed this suit in state court on March 14, 2012 against Defendant Joe Green for breach of contract, quantum meruit and declaratory relief for claims arising out of the breeding, boarding, care and training of several horses at Manion's Denton County facilities. Defendant Joe Green removed the case to this Court on April 16, 2012.

During the same time frame, in February 2012, Magic Cross Ranch, L.P. filed suit against Tommy Manion of Texas, Inc., Tommy Manion, and Kyle Manion in the Northern District of Texas, asserting claims of promissory estoppel, unjust enrichment, theft, negligence and negligent misrepresentation, fraudulent misrepresentation and inducement, fraud, breach of contract, money had and received, breach of fiduciary duty, among other allegations, as well as a claim for attorneys' fees. See Dkt. 4:12cv616 at Dkt. 1. From February 2012 until September 2012, the case proceeded in the Northern District but was ultimately transferred to this Court on October 1, 2012. The case became Case Number 4:12cv616 and was assigned to the undersigned and United States District Judge Richard A. Schell.

After the Court held a hearing on the matter at which counsel for both sides appeared, the proceedings in Cases 4:12cv222 and 4:12cv616 were ordered consolidated to remain assigned to United States District Judge Richard A. Schell under Case Number 4:12cv222, that being the first-filed case in this District. See Dkt. 26 in 4:12cv222 and Dkt. 45 in 4:12cv616.

After consolidation, Plaintiffs Tommy Manion of Texas, Inc., Tommy Manion, and Kyle Manion filed an Amended Complaint, naming both Joe Green and Magic Cross Ranch, L.P. as Defendants and asserting against them a breach of contract claim, a quantum meruit claim, and a claim for declaratory relief. See Dkt. 21. Joe Green and Magic Cross Ranch, LP responded with an answer, asserting various affirmative defenses, and a counterclaim. Defendant Magic Cross, LP asserted a counterclaim of bailment and negligent handling, a claim of promissory estoppel, a claim under the DTPA, and a claim of negligent hiring against Defendants, a breach of fiduciary duty claim and a fraud claim against Tommy Manion, and a claim for attorney's fees. See Dkt. 25.[1]

After counsel withdrew for Defendants Green and Magic Cross Ranch, L.P., the Court stayed the case for a period of 30 days to allow Joe Green and Magic Cross Ranch, L.P. time to retain new counsel. In that order, Magic Cross Ranch, L.P. was cautioned that, if this matter proceeded and it remained unrepresented, any defensive and/or affirmative claims filed by Magic Cross Ranch L.P. would be stricken. See Dkt. 42. Defendants did not retain new counsel.

As a result, on September 25, 2013, the Court recommended that all of Defendant Magic Cross Ranch, L.P.'s counterclaims be dismissed with prejudice and that all other defenses, affirmative and otherwise, filed by Magic Cross, L.P. in this matter be stricken from the record. See Dkt. 54.[2] Thus, the only claims remaining are Plaintiffs' affirmative claims against Defendants and any applicable affirmative Defenses raised by Green individually.[3]

Plaintiffs seek summary judgment as to all remaining claims.

MOTION FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT STANDARD

Summary judgment is appropriate when, viewing the evidence and all justifiable inferences in the light most favorable to the non-moving party, there is no genuine issue of material fact and the moving party is entitled to judgment as a matter of law. FED. R. CIV. P. 56(c); Hunt v. Cromartie, 526 U.S. 541, 549, 119 S.Ct. 1545, 143 L.Ed.2d 731 (1999). The appropriate inquiry is "whether the evidence presents a sufficient disagreement to require submission to a jury or whether it is so one-sided that one party must prevail as a matter of law." Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 251-52, 106 S.Ct. 2505, 91 L.Ed.2d 202 (1986).

The party moving for summary judgment has the initial burden to prove there are no genuine issues of material fact for trial. Provident Life & Accident Ins. Co. v. Goel, 274 F.3d 984, 991 (5th Cir. 2001). In sustaining this burden, the movant must identify those portions of pleadings, depositions, answers to interrogatories, and admissions on file, together with the affidavits, if any, which it believes demonstrate the absence of a genuine issue of material fact. Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 325, 106 S.Ct. 2548, 2553, 91 L.Ed.2d 265 (1986). The moving party, however, "need not negate the elements of the nonmovant's case." Little v. Liquid Air Corp., 37 F.3d 1069, 1075 (5th Cir. 1994) (en banc). The movant's burden is only to point out the absence of evidence supporting the nonmoving party's case. Stults v. Conoco, Inc., 76 F.3d 651, 655 (5th Cir. 1996).

In response, the nonmovant's response "may not rest upon mere allegations contained in the pleadings, but must set forth and support by summary judgment evidence specific facts showing the existence of a genuine issue for trial." Ragas v. Tennessee Gas Pipeline Co., 136 F.3d 455, 458 (5th Cir. 1998) (citing Anderson, 477 U.S. at 255-57, 106 S.Ct. at 2513-14). Once the moving party makes a properly supported motion for summary judgment, the nonmoving party must look beyond the pleadings and designate specific facts in the record to show that there is a genuine issue for trial. Stults, 76 F.3d at 655. The citations to evidence must be specific, as the district court is not required to "scour the record" to determine whether the evidence raises ...


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