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Sprint Nextel Corporation v. Middle Man, Inc.

United States District Court, D. Kansas

January 13, 2015

SPRINT NEXTEL CORPORATION, Plaintiff,
v.
THE MIDDLE MAN, INC., and BRIAN K. VAZQUEZ, Defendants.

MEMORANDUM AND ORDER

J. THOMAS MARTEN, District Judge.

Before the court is plaintiff Sprint Nextel Corporation's ("Sprint") Motion for Entry of Final Judgment on Count I and Voluntary Dismissal of Remaining Claims With Prejudice (Dkt. 153). As discussed below, the order is granted in part and denied in part.

I. Background

The court finds that the parties are well-acquainted with the facts of this case. Therefore, a dissertation thereof is unnecessary. The relevant procedural history is as follows. On March 14, 2012, Sprint filed a thirteen-count complaint against defendants The Middle Man, Inc. and Brian K. Vazquez. (Dkt. 1). On December 9, 2014, the court granted partial summary judgment in favor of Sprint on liability only for Count I: Breach of Contract. (Dkt. 151). The court determined that a genuine dispute of material fact existed as to Sprint's claim for $2, 864.29 in damages for the breach of contract. (Dkt. 151, at 8).

II. Analysis

A. Final Judgment on Count I

"Every judgment and amended judgment must be set out in a separate document...." FED. R. CIV. P. 58(a). Several enumerated exceptions to this general rule are stated in Rule 58(a), none of which are relevant to this case. "A party may request that judgment be set out in a separate document as required by Rule 58(a)." FED. R. CIV. P. 58(d). "Judgment' as used in these rules includes a decree and any order from which an appeal lies." FED. R. CIV. P. 54(a). "[A] grant of partial summary judgment limited to the issue of [defendant's] liability... are by their terms interlocutory." Liberty Mut. Ins. Co. v. Wetzel, 424 U.S. 737, 744 (1976). Such grants are not judgments under the Rules "where assessment of damages or awarding of other relief remains to be resolved...." Id.

Here, the court granted partial summary judgment in favor of Sprint on liability only for breach of contract (Dkt. 151). Judgment on liability only is not a judgment for purposes of Rule 58(a). Therefore, it is improper to enter a judgment pursuant to Rule 58 on liability only for breach of contract.

B. Voluntary Dismissal of Remaining Claims With Prejudice

[A]n action may be dismissed at the plaintiff's request only by court order, on terms that the court considers proper. If a defendant has pleaded a counterclaim before being served with the plaintiff's motion to dismiss, the action may be dismissed over the defendant's objection only if the counterclaim can remain pending for independent adjudication.

FED. R. CIV. P. 41(a)(2). Here, plaintiff moves to voluntarily dismiss all claims other than Count I. Defendants have no counterclaims pending and make no objection to this motion. Therefore, the motion to dismiss all claims other than Count I, breach of contract, is granted.

C. Summary Judgment on Damages for Breach of Contract

After studying the developed record in this matter, the court advises the parties that it is considering the entry of summary judgment in favor of Sprint for nominal damages pursuant to Rule 56(f)(3). "After giving notice and a reasonable time to respond, the court may:... (3) consider summary judgment on its own after identifying for the parties material facts that may not be genuinely in dispute." FED. R. CIV. P. 56(f). Summary judgment is proper if "there is no genuine dispute as to any material fact" and a party is "entitled to judgment as a matter of law." FED. R. CIV. P. 56(a); accord Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 322 (1986). An issue of material fact is genuine "if the evidence is such that a reasonable jury could return a verdict for the nonmoving party." Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 248 (1986).

The party resisting summary judgment may not rely upon mere allegations or denials contained in its pleadings or briefs. Id. at 256. Rather, such party must come forward with specific facts showing the presence of a genuine issue of material fact for trial and significant probative evidence supporting the allegation. Id. Summary judgment may be granted if the opposing party's evidence is merely colorable or is not significantly probative. Id. at 249-50. The party opposing summary judgment must do more than simply show there is some metaphysical doubt as to the material facts. Matsushita Elec. Indus. Co., Ltd. v. Zenith Radio Corp., 475 U.S. 574, 586 (1986). "In the language of the Rule, the ...


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