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HeiTech Services, Inc. v. Front Rowe, Inc.

United States District Court, E.D. Virginia, Alexandria Division

May 26, 2015

HEITECH SERVICES, INC., Plaintiff,
v.
FRONT ROWE, INC., et al., Defendants.

MEMORANDUM OPINION

JAMES C. CACHERIS ALEXANDRIA, VIRGINIA UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT JUDGE

This matter is before the Court on Plaintiff HeiTech Services, Inc.’s Motion for Summary Judgment against the individual Defendants Atron Rowe and Karen Rowe. [Dkt. 31.] For the reasons set forth below, the Court will grant the motion and enter judgment in favor of Plaintiff against the individual Defendants Atron Rowe and Karen Rowe.

I. Background

On June 16, 2014, Plaintiff HeiTech Services, Inc. (“Plaintiff”) filed a Complaint against Defendants Front Rowe, Inc. (“FRI”), Atron Rowe (“Atron”), and Karen Rowe (“Karen”) (collectively “Defendants”) alleging Breach of Contract, as to FRI only, and Fraud, as to all Defendants. (Compl. [Dkt. 1] at 7-10.) On December 9, 2014, the Court stayed this matter as to the two individual Defendants, Atron and Karen, after the Court received notice of their Chapter 13 bankruptcy filings. (Order [Dkt. 40].) Subsequently, the Court granted Plaintiff’s unopposed motion for summary judgment against FRI, and the Clerk of Court entered judgment in favor of Plaintiff against FRI in the amount of $505, 758.63. (Mem. Op. [Dkt. 42]; Order [Dkt. 43]; Judgment [Dkt. 44].)

On April 7, 2015, upon Plaintiff’s motion, the Court lifted the stay previously imposed as to Atron and Karen because their bankruptcy proceedings were dismissed. (Order [Dkt. 51].) At that time, the Court also set a briefing schedule for Plaintiff’s motion for summary judgment against Atron and Karen, which is now before the Court and ripe for disposition. (Id.)

II. Standard of Review

Summary judgment is appropriate only if the record shows that “there is no genuine issue as to any material fact and that the moving party is entitled to judgment as a matter of law.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(c); see also Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 247-48 (1986); Evans v. Techs. Applications & Serv., Co., 80 F.3d 954, 958-59 (4th Cir. 1996) (citations omitted). In reviewing the record on summary judgment, “the court must draw any inferences in the light most favorable to the non-movant [and] determine whether the record taken as a whole could lead a reasonable trier of fact to find for the non-movant.” Brock v. Entre Computer Ctrs., 933 F.2d 1253, 1259 (4th Cir. 1991) (citations omitted).

However, once a motion for summary judgment is properly made and supported, the opposing party has the burden of showing that a genuine dispute exists. See Matsushita Elec. Indus. Co. v. Zenith Radio Corp., 475 U.S. 574, 586-87 (1986); see also Ray Commc’ns, Inc. v. Clear Channel Commc’ns, Inc., 673 F.3d 294, 299 (4th Cir. 2012) (stating the opposing party must “come forward with specific facts showing that there is a genuine issue for trial.”) (citations and internal quotations omitted). Specifically, on summary judgment, the parties are required to list the undisputed material facts. E.D. Va. Local Civil Rule 56(B). “In determining a motion for summary judgment, the Court may assume that facts identified by the moving party in its listing of material facts are admitted, unless such a fact is controverted in the statement of genuine issues filed in opposition to the motion.” Id. Similarly, “[i]f a party fails to properly support an assertion of fact or fails to properly address another party’s assertion of fact as required by Rule 56(c), the court may consider the fact undisputed for purposes of the motion.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(e)(2).

III. Undisputed Material Facts

Individual pro se Defendants Atron and Karen filed a response to Plaintiff’s motion for summary judgment. (Defs.’ Opp’n [Dkt. 52].) Atron and Karen attached emails to their response that are irrelevant to the issues now before the Court. (Defs.’ Opp’n Ex. 1.) Furthermore, Atron and Karen do not otherwise attach or cite to any evidence in an attempt to contradict or address Plaintiff’s assertion of fact as required by Rule 56(c) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure.

Accordingly, the Court deems Plaintiff’s assertion of undisputed facts admitted. JDS Uniphase Corp. v. Jennings, 473 F.Supp.2d 705, 707 (E.D. Va. 2007). The Court previously summarized the undisputed material facts of this case and therefore need not repeat those facts here. (See Mem. Op. at 4-7; HeiTech Servs., Inc. v. Front Rowe, Inc., No. 1:14cv739 (JCC/TCB), 2014 WL 7240184, at *2-3 (E.D. Va. Dec. 19, 2014).)

IV. Analysis

On Plaintiff’s previous motion for summary judgment against FRI, the Court found that FRI was liable for breach of contract to Plaintiff in the amount of $450, 421.43.[1] (Mem. Op. at 7-10.) The Court also found that because Plaintiff was entitled to judgment as a matter of law on the breach of contract claim against FRI as discussed above, Plaintiff was not entitled to double recovery for the same harm under a theory of fraud. Thus, the Court denied Plaintiff’s motion as to the fraud claim. (Id. at 10-11.) Finally, the Court did not previously address Plaintiff’s fraud claim against individual Defendants Atron and Karen Rowe, nor did it address Plaintiff’s request to pierce the corporate veil of FRI and hold Atron and Karen Rowe personally liable for the judgment entered against FRI because, at that time, the instant litigation had been stayed against Atron and Karen Rowe due to their bankruptcy proceedings. (Id. at 11-12.) Now that the stay has been lifted, there are two issues the Court must address. First, whether Plaintiff is entitled to summary judgment on its fraud ...


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