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Patel v. Snapp

United States District Court, Tenth Circuit

December 30, 2013

Kamal K. Patel, and K&A Motel, Inc., Plaintiffs,
v.
David Snapp, et al., Defendants.

MEMORANDUM AND ORDER

J. THOMAS MARTEN, JUDGE

The court has before it dueling motions for partial summary judgment brought by plaintiff Kamal K. Patel and defendants David Snapp and his former law firm Waite, Snapp & Doll. The motions each seek judgment on count seventeen of the Second Amended Complaint, Patel’s breach of contract claim against Snapp. The court grants Snapp’s motion for the following reasons and denies Patel’s motion as moot.

I. Uncontroverted Facts [1]

K&A Motel, Inc. retained David Snapp of Waite, Snapp & Doll to represent K&A in a dispute arising from a contract it had signed with Mitesh Patel, who ostensibly represented Shiva Hotel, Inc. in entering the agreement. K&A entered into an attorney-client relationship with Snapp and his law firm. Snapp filed suit against Mitesh Patel and Shiva in Finney County, Kansas on behalf of K&A, seeking specific performance or compensatory damages. After negotiations with Mitesh Patel that included Wilson and Grace Parmar-to whom K&A had given power of attorney-Snapp agreed to a settlement on behalf of K&A. Snapp and his firm breached their duty to K&A in agreeing to this settlement.

K&A and Kamal Patel filed suit against Snapp and his firm, in addition to other defendants not relevant here. Other than Count 10, which alleges breach of contract, all of K&A’s claims against Snapp and his firm allege negligence, breach of fiduciary duty, fraud, abuse of process, tortious interference with a contract, and/or tortious interference with a prospective and valid expectancy.

No formal contract or letter of engagement existed, and to the extent that an oral contract existed between Snapp and K&A, it merely provided that Snapp would represent K&A in a lawsuit against Mitesh Patel and Shiva for their breach of contract.

Kamal Patel’s alleged breach of contract claim is included in the Second Amended Complaint at Count 17. See Dkt. 88, p. 22. Paragraph 122 of the Second Amended Complaint alleges Snapp’s breach of both express and implied terms of the contract for legal services, by:

(a) the express agreement that they would bring suit against Mitesh and Shiva and not voluntarily dismiss the case short of trial unless an agreement acceptable to K&A was reached;
(b) the express agreement that they would act professionally, dutifully, and solely for the benefit of K & A in carrying out the representation;
(c) the implied agreement to perform under the contract consistent with the duties of good faith and fair dealing;
(d) The implied agreement to not breach their fiduciary duties in the course of performing under the contract.

Id. Kamal Patel received assignments of claims signed by the owners of K&A and brings his claims for breach of contract as an assignee of K&A, “to the extent that such claims are assignable.” Id.

II. Legal Standard: Summary Judgment

Under Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(a), summary judgment is appropriate when “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.” “A fact is ‘material’ if, under the governing law, it could have an effect on the outcome of the lawsuit.” Adamson v. Multi Cmty. Diversified Servs., Inc., 514 F.3d 1136, 1145 (10th Cir. 2008) (citing Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 248 (1986)). “A dispute over a ...


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