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Teletrac, Inc. v. Logicorp Enterprises, LCC

United States District Court, S.D. Texas, McAllen Division

August 19, 2019



          Micaela Alvarez United States District Judge.

         Currently before the Court is Teletrac, Inc. d/b/a Teletrac Navman's (“Plaintiff”) motion for summary judgment, [1] as well as Plaintiff's supplement to the motion.[2] Logicorp Enterprises, LLC (“Defendant”) has not responded. After considering the motion, the relevant authorities, and the record, the Court DENIES Plaintiff's motion as follows.

         I. Background

         This is a breach of contract case. Plaintiff provides GPS tracking tools and services, among other things, to businesses with trucking fleets; Defendant is a company that facilitates intrastate and interstate commerce, including via a fleet of trucks.[3] Plaintiff entered into a series of agreements with Defendant in which Plaintiff agreed to provide Defendant with “mobile tracking and communication devices” for Defendant's trucking fleet.[4]

         The exact dates the parties entered into these agreements is unclear; however, sometime in July 2013 the parties entered into a “Teletrac Subscriber Agreement” that had a contract term of thirty-six months.[5] In January 2014, the parties entered into another Teletrac Subscriber Agreement with a thirty-six month term, [6] and another in February 2014, again with a contract term of thirty-six months.[7]

         Each Teletrac Subscriber Agreement provides it is governed by a separate “Terms and Conditions.”[8] The Terms and Conditions state, in relevant part, that Plaintiff would ship and install the mobile communication devices ordered by Defendant;[9] that Defendant would be granted the use of Plaintiff's communication software;[10] that Defendant would pay the amount on the Teletrac Subscription Agreements, as well as an ongoing monthly subscription fee;[11] and that Defendant would pay any amount due within ten days.[12] The Terms and Conditions also stated that unless the parties provided express written notice, the agreement between the parties would automatically renew for twelve months at the expiration of the term of service.[13]

         Plaintiff filed a complaint in this Court, [14] later amended, [15] alleging Defendant breached their agreement by failing to pay the amount owed to Plaintiff-$234, 690.86-despite repeated demands for this payment.[16] On this basis, Plaintiff brings a claim of breach of contract against Defendant seeking damages and attorneys' fees.[17]

         Defendant appeared through counsel and filed an answer, [18] but Defendant's counsel subsequently sought leave-which was granted-to withdraw as counsel due to Defendant's failure to pay it legal services.[19] As of this date, Defendant has not obtained substitute counsel for this action.[20]

         Plaintiff timely filed the instant motion for summary judgment pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure (“Rule”) 56.[21] Defendant has not responded and the time for doing so has passed, rendering Defendant unopposed to the motion by operation of the Local Rules.[22] The Court now turns to its analysis.

         II. Legal Standard

         Under Rule 56, summary judgment is proper when there is “no genuine dispute as to any material fact and the movant is entitled to judgment as a matter of law.”[23] In a motion for summary judgment, the movant bears the initial burden of showing the absence of a genuine issue of material fact.[24] The burden then shifts to the non-movant to demonstrate the existence of a genuine issue of material fact.[25] “A fact is ‘material' if its resolution could affect the outcome of the action, ”[26] while a “genuine” dispute is present “only if a reasonable jury could return a verdict for the non-movant.”[27] As a result, “[o]nly disputes over facts that might affect the outcome of the suit under the governing law will properly preclude the entry of summary judgment.”[28]

         In conducting its analysis, the Court considers evidence from the entire record and views that evidence in the light most favorable to the non-movant.[29] Rather than combing through the record on its own, the Court looks to the motion for summary judgment and response to present the evidence for consideration.[30] Parties may cite to any part of the record, or bring evidence in the motion and response.[31] By either method, parties need not proffer evidence in a form admissible at trial, [32] but must proffer evidence substantively admissible at trial.[33]

         As to any the question of substantive law, because federal jurisdiction is invoked on the basis of diversity of citizenship, [34] this Court, Erie-bound, must adhere to grounds of relief authorized by the state law of Texas.[35] Absent a decision by a state's highest tribunal, the decisions by Texas courts of appeals are controlling “unless [the Court] is convinced by other persuasive data that the highest court of the state would decide otherwise.”[36]

         III. Analysis

         As an initial matter, the Court admonishes Plaintiff for its failure to appropriately cite to the record in support of its motion for summary judgment. Plaintiff attaches evidence to its motion, but nowhere in the motion does Plaintiff cite to the evidence.[37] Under the Federal Rules, any assertion or allegation unsupported by evidence cannot be used to establish a genuine dispute of a material fact. Rule 56(c)(1) provides that the party asserting that a fact cannot be or is genuinely disputed must support the assertion by citing to “particular parts of materials” in the record or showing that the materials cited do not establish the absence or presence of a genuine dispute.[38] “Judges are not like pigs, hunting for truffles buried in briefs, ” and the Court is under no obligation to prove Plaintiff's case for it.[39]

         Nonetheless, although the Court need only consider cited evidence, the Court may consider any evidence entered into the record.[40] Thus, in the interest of judicial economy, and considering Defendant's lack of opposition to the instant motion, [41] the Court utilizes its discretion to consider the evidence entered into the record that could support Plaintiff's motion.

         After considering the evidence, the Court concludes Plaintiff has not demonstrated it is entitled to summary judgment as a matter of law. A breach of contract claim has the following essential elements in Texas: “(1) the existence of a valid contract; (2) performance by plaintiff; (3) breach of the contract by the defendant; and (4) damages sustained by plaintiff as a result of the breach.”[42] For a contract to exist, the parties must manifest their mutual assent to be bound by it.[43] Plaintiff bears the burden of demonstrating it suffered a loss resulting from the breach.[44]

         Here, the Court finds Plaintiff's evidence satisfies the first element of a contract claim, but fails regarding the remaining elements. In support of the first prong, Plaintiff provides three signed Teletrac Subscriber Agreements[45] which state they are governed by Plaintiff's Terms and Conditions.[46] These documents collectively indicate Plaintiff would ship and install mobile communications devices for Defendant and Defendant would pay for them and for an ongoing monthly subscription for the use of Plaintiff's communications software. Plaintiff also provides evidence that Defendant continued to purchase goods from Plaintiff and that the parties had ongoing email correspondence.[47] Further, the Terms and Conditions state that the agreement would renew automatically without express written notice.[48] Thus, Plaintiff has provided evidence the parties reached a written agreement, the agreement stated it would automatically renew, and the parties had ongoing communications and engaged conduct in which the parties manifested their mutual assent to be bound by the agreement in a continuing relationship. This is sufficient to find a valid contract.

         However, Plaintiff fails to provide evidence sufficient to satisfy any other element of a contract claim. Plaintiff alleges it performed under the contract and delivered and installed the agreed on mobile communications devices, but does not provide competent evidence of this. As noted above, Plaintiff in no place cited to the record in support of its assertions, so it is difficult to discern which evidence Plaintiff believes may support these assertions. However, Plaintiff's evidence contains a document entitled “Customer Item Selection, ”[49] and two pages labeled “Order Shipping Instructions” both dated July 31, 2013.[50]

         The Court finds these documents insufficient to find Plaintiff performed as required under the Teletrac Subscriber Agreements and the Terms and Conditions. The Terms and Conditions required Plaintiff to ship and install the items purchased by Defendant.[51] Plaintiff's evidence is insufficient to show it performed these tasks. First, the items listed on the Customer Item Selection and the Order Shipping Instructions do not seem to match the items listed on the Teletrac Subscriber Agreements.[52] Second, each of these pages state the orders are “pending, ”[53]which does not suffice to show Plaintiff shipped the items as required. Third, although Plaintiff states in its motion that it installed the items, nothing in the evidence supports this assertion.[54]Finally, Plaintiff provides no evidence that Plaintiff continued to provide Defendant ongoing use of Plaintiff's communications software or that Plaintiff even attempted to perform on any date after July 31, 2013. Thus, Plaintiff has failed to demonstrate it performed as required under any of the Teletrac Subscriber Agreements or the Terms and Conditions.

         Additionally, Plaintiff provides no evidence whatsoever demonstrating that Defendant breached the Agreement or the damages to which Plaintiff is entitled that flowed from that breach-the third and fourth prongs of a breach of contract claim. Plaintiff asserts Defendant has failed to pay despite repeated requests for payment, but none of Plaintiff's evidence supports this. Similarly, Plaintiff provides no evidence of its damages. Plaintiff is requesting a judgment in the amount of $234, 690.86, but provides no evidence supporting that number.

         In sum, Plaintiff has wholly failed to meet its burden to demonstrate it is entitled to judgment as a matter of law on its breach of contract claim against Defendant. Accordingly, the Court DENIES Plaintiffs motion for summary judgment.

         IV. Supplement to Motion

         Plaintiff also filed a “First Supplement to Plaintiff Teletrac, Inc.'s Rule 56 Motion for Summary Judgment.”[55] Therein Plaintiff requests attorneys' fees.[56] Plaintiff is not entitled to attorneys' fees without a viable cause of action.[57] Thus, to the extent Plaintiffs supplement is requesting separate relief in the form of attorneys' fees, the Court DENIES Plaintiffs request.

         V. Conclusion

         Based on the foregoing, the Court DENIES Plaintiffs motion[58] for summary ...

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