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Blevins v. Booker

United States District Court, W.D. Virginia, Abingdon Division

June 1, 2017

KYLE BLEVINS, Plaintiff,
v.
WILLIAM BOOKER, Defendant.

          Steven R. Minor, Elliott Lawson & Minor, Bristol, Virginia, for Plaintiff;

          Michael A. Bragg, Bragg Law, Abingdon, Virginia, for Defendant.

          OPINION AND ORDER

          James P. Jones United States District Judge

         This is a diversity action under Virginia substantive law for breach of contract and fraud arising from an alleged agreement to operate a drive-in movie theater. The defendant has filed a Motion to Dismiss for failure to state a claim upon which relief can be granted. Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(6). For the reasons that follow, I will deny the defendant's Motion to Dismiss as to the plaintiff's claims for breach of contract and grant the defendant's Motion to Dismiss as to the claim asserting fraud.

         I. Factual Summary.

         The Complaint alleges the following facts, which I must accept as true for the purpose of deciding the present motion.

         The defendant, William Booker, is the owner of the Moonlite Theater (hereinafter “the Moonlite”), a drive-in movie theater located in this judicial district. In September 2016, [1] the plaintiff, Kyle Blevins, and Booker entered into a handwritten agreement (hereinafter “the Handwritten Agreement”) that stated as follows:

Agreement between William Booker & Kyle Blevins
We agree to together join in a partnership to restore and reopen the Moonlite Theatre in Abingdon, VA.
Kyle Blevins will provide all funds to restore & refurbish all buildings and grounds, & operate Business.
William Booker will provide property as his contribution to the partnership.
As an act of good faith Kyle Blevins will begin construction and at the point it is open for business and the first movie shown, William and Kyle will execute a partnership agreement upon this.
Kyle Blevins will have 51% ownership and William Booker will have 49% of the real este [sic] & business.
Kyle will operate business and give William 49% of net profit.
Other considerations will be included in the formal agreement to follow.

         Compl. Attach. 1-2, ECF No. 1-1. Both Booker and Blevins signed the bottom of the document.

         After the parties signed the Handwritten Agreement, Blevins began restoring and refurbishing the Moonlite pursuant to the Agreement; eventually, the Moonlite was opened to the public, and the first movie was shown. In performing this work, Blevins purchased equipment, provided labor, and solicited donations of time and money from members of the community. He also paid an attorney to draw up documents for the formation of a new limited liability company named, “Historical Moonlite LLC.” Ultimately, Blevins spent more than $20, 000 on this endeavor. Compl. ¶¶ 11-12, ECF No. 1.

         After the Moonlite showed its first movie - the point at which the Handwritten Agreement called for the execution of a “partnership agreement” - Booker declined to sign the documents for “Historical Moonlite LLC.” He refused to convey the real property on which Moonlite was located and later engaged a realtor to sell the property. Booker also forbade Blevins from entering the property. Eventually, the Moonlite closed and was subsequently vandalized. Id. at ¶¶ 13-14.

         On March 17, 2017, Blevins brought this action against Booker for breach of contract and fraud. Blevins seeks specific performance of the Handwritten Agreement (Count One). He also seeks either money damages for breach of contract or restitution under a theory of unjust enrichment (Count Two). Alternatively, ...


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