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Show-Me's Franchises, Inc. v. Sullivan

United States District Court, S.D. Illinois

December 11, 2014



J. PHIL GILBERT, District Judge.

This matter comes before the Court on Plaintiff Show-Me's Franchises, Inc.'s Motion (Doc. 28) for Summary Judgment and Plaintiff Show-Me's Franchises, Inc.'s Motion (Doc. 27) for Sanctions. Defendant has filed a response (Doc. 35) to Plaintiff's Motion for Summary Judgment and a response (Doc. 36) to Plaintiff's Motion for Sanctions.

1. Background

This matter arises from a Franchise Agreement between the Plaintiff Show-Me's Franchises, Inc. and Defendant Brad Sullivan. Show-Me's Franchises, Inc. is an Illinois Corporation with its principal office located in Edwardsville, Illinois. Defendant Brad Sullivan is a resident of Muncie, Indiana and a citizen of the State of Indiana.

Plaintiff filed a four count Complaint in the Circuit Court, Twentieth Judicial Circuit, St. Clair County, Illinois (13-CH-278) on March 22, 2013, and the Defendant removed to this Court on April 29, 2013, pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1332, § 1441, and § 1446.

The Parties agree that on February 1, 2011, Defendant Brad Sullivan entered into a Franchise Agreement with Plaintiff for the operation of a Show-Me's Franchise in Muncie, Indiana. Both parties are alleging that the other failed to perform their duties and obligations under the Franchise Agreement and the Defendant is further alleging that Plaintiff engaged in deceptive and fraudulent business practices.

Plaintiff is also alleging Tortious Interference with a Business Relationship and Defendant is also alleging that provisions of the Plaintiff Show-Me's Franchise Agreement are in direct violation of Illinois Franchise Disclosure Act (815 ILCS 705/5; 815 ILCS 705/16 and 815 ILCS 705/26); the Indiana Deceptive Franchise Practices Act (Ind. Code § 23-2-2.5 - 27); and general Indiana law.

The Court furthers notes that the Franchise Agreement contains an arbitration provision and that neither party has filed a motion for enforcement of the arbitration provision as required by 9 U.S.C.A. § 4. As such, this Court will proceed to rule on the Motions at bar.

2. Analysis

A. Motion for Summary Judgment

Summary judgment must be granted "if the movant shows that there is no genuine dispute as to any material fact and the movant is entitled to judgment as a matter of law." Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(a); see Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 322 (1986); Spath v. Hayes Wheels Int'l-Ind., Inc., 211 F.3d 392, 396 (7th Cir. 2000). The reviewing court must construe the evidence in the light most favorable to the nonmoving party and draw all reasonable inferences in favor of that party. See Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 255 (1986); Chelios v. Heavener, 520 F.3d 678, 685 (7th Cir. 2008); Spath, 211 F.3d at 396.

The initial summary judgment burden of production is on the moving party to show the Court that there is no reason to have a trial. Celotex, 477 U.S. at 323; Modrowski v. Pigatto, 712 F.3d 1166, 1168 (7th Cir. 2013). Where the non-moving party carries the burden of proof at trial, the moving party may satisfy its burden of production in one of two ways. It may present evidence that affirmatively negates an essential element of the non-moving party's case, see Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(c)(1)(A), or it may point to an absence of evidence to support an essential element of the non-moving party's case without actually submitting any evidence, see Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(c)(1)(B). Celotex, 477 U.S. at 322-25; Modrowski, 712 F.3d at 1169. Where the moving party fails to meet its strict burden, a court cannot enter summary judgment for the moving party even if the opposing party fails to present relevant evidence in response to the motion. Cooper v. Lane, 969 F.2d 368, 371 (7th Cir. 1992).

In responding to a summary judgment motion, the nonmoving party may not simply rest upon the allegations contained in the pleadings but must present specific facts to show that a genuine issue of material fact exists. Celotex, 477 U.S. at 322-26; Anderson, 477 U.S. at 256-57; Modrowski, 712 F.3d at 1168. A genuine issue of material fact is not demonstrated by the mere existence of "some alleged factual dispute between the parties, " Anderson, 477 U.S. at 247, or by "some metaphysical doubt as to the material facts, " Matsushita Elec. Indus. Co. v. Zenith Radio Corp., 475 U.S. 574, 586 (1986). Rather, a genuine issue of material fact exists only if "a fair-minded jury could return a verdict for the [nonmoving party] on the evidence presented." Anderson, 477 U.S. at 252.

In this matter, Defendant is arguing violations of Indiana law. Therefore, there must be a determination of the applicable state substantive law in order for the Court to ...

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