United States District Court, S.D. Illinois
SCOTT JENKINS and RHONDA STEPHANIE ALEXANDROPOULOS, Plaintiffs,
BRUCE BURKEY, TAYLOR LAW FIRM PC, JOICE BASS, JENNIFER HOSTETLER and LEWIS ROCA ROTHGERBER LLP, Defendants.
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
PHIL GILBERT, DISTRICT JUDGE.
matter comes before the Court on the motion for summary
judgment filed by defendants Bruce Burkey and Taylor Law
Offices, PC (“TLO”; misnamed in the Second
Amended Complaint as Taylor Law Firm PC) (Doc. 77). Plaintiff
Scott Jenkins has responded to the motion (Doc. 90), and
Burkey and TLO have replied to that response (Doc.
originally filed a nearly identical lawsuit on September 29,
2015, in the United States District Court for the Eastern
District of Missouri, which described the litigation as
This litigation arises from a prior lawsuit plaintiff Jenkins
filed against his daughters in Nevada to regain control of a
family-owned company in Nevada (the “Nevada
Lawsuit”). In that lawsuit, Jenkins' daughters
retained defendants Bass and Hostetler of the Nevada law firm
Lewis Roca Rothgerber Christie LLP as their attorneys. In
addition, plaintiff Jenkins' daughters retained defendant
Burkey of the Taylor Law Firm, P.C. in Illinois.
* * *
Plaintiffs have now brought a variety of claims against the
named attorneys and law firms, which all relate to the
defendants' work representing their clients opposite
plaintiff Jenkins in the Nevada Lawsuit. These claims include
intentional infliction of emotional distress, negligent
infliction of emotional distress, intentional interference
with a prospective economic advantage, defamation, negligent
supervision, and breach of contract. Plaintiffs have also
alleged that defendants committed fraud, fraudulent
misrepresentation, conspiracy, theft, the unauthorized
practice of law, illegal possession of personal credit file
information, violating the Illinois Consumer Fraud and
Deceptive Business Practice Act, blackmail, extortion,
coercion, mail fraud, and sending threatening communications
& Order at 1-2, Jenkins v. Burkey, No.
4:15-cv-1494-SNLJ (E.D. Mo. June 21, 2016).
order dated June 22, 2017 (Doc. 53), the Court granted in
part and denied in part the motion to dismiss filed by Burkey
and TLO, leaving only three claims in this case:
• Count VII against Burkey for defamation;
• Count VIII against Burkey for intentional interference
with prospective economic advantage; and
• Count X against TLO based on vicarious liability for
Burkey's conduct in the foregoing two claims.
and TLO now seek summary judgment on those remaining claims.
Summary Judgment Standard
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.
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).
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.