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Konecranes, Inc. v. Davis

United States District Court, Southern District of Indiana, Indianapolis Division

February 18, 2014

Konecranes, Inc., Plaintiff,
v.
Brian Scott Davis, Industrial & Crane, Inc., Defendants.

ORDER [1]

Jane Magnus-Stinson, Judge

Plaintiff Konecranes, Inc. (“Konecranes”) brings this suit against its former employee, Defendant Brian Scott Davis, and Mr. Davis’ subsequent employer, Defendant Industrial & Crane Services, Inc. (“ICS”). [Filing No. 44.] Prior decisions by the Court leave pending only Konecranes’ breach of contract and breach of fiduciary duty[2] claims against Mr. Davis.[3]Currently before the Court is Mr. Davis’ Motion for Summary Judgment. [Filing No. 73.] For the reasons that follow, the Court GRANTS the motion. [Filing No. 73.]

I.

Standard of Review

A motion for summary judgment asks the Court to find that a trial is unnecessary because there is no genuine dispute as to any material fact and, instead, the movant is entitled to judgment as a matter of law. See Fed. R. Civ. P. 56(a). As the current version of Rule 56 makes clear, whether a party asserts that a fact is undisputed or genuinely disputed, the party must support the asserted fact by citing to particular parts of the record, including depositions, documents, or affidavits. Fed. R. Civ. P. 56(c)(1)(A). A party can also support a fact by showing that the materials cited do not establish the absence or presence of a genuine dispute or that the adverse party cannot produce admissible evidence to support the fact. Fed. R. Civ. P. 56(c)(1)(B). Affidavits or declarations must be made on personal knowledge, set out facts that would be admissible in evidence, and show that the affiant is competent to testify on matters stated. Fed. R. Civ. P. 56(c)(4). Failure to properly support a fact in opposition to a movant’s factual assertion can result in the movant’s fact being considered undisputed, and potentially in the grant of summary judgment. Fed. R. Civ. P. 56(e).

In deciding a motion for summary judgment, the Court need only consider disputed facts that are material to the decision. A disputed fact is material if it might affect the outcome of the suit under the governing law. Hampton v. Ford Motor Co., 561 F.3d 709, 713 (7th Cir. 2009). In other words, while there may be facts that are in dispute, summary judgment is appropriate if those facts are not outcome determinative. Harper v. Vigilant Ins. Co., 433 F.3d 521, 525 (7th Cir. 2005). Fact disputes that are irrelevant to the legal question will not be considered. Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 248 (1986).

On summary judgment, a party must show the Court what evidence it has that would convince a trier of fact to accept its version of the events. Johnson v. Cambridge Indus., 325 F.3d 892, 901 (7th Cir. 2003). The moving party is entitled to summary judgment if no reasonable fact-finder could return a verdict for the non-moving party. Nelson v. Miller, 570 F.3d 868, 875 (7th Cir. 2009). The Court views the record in the light most favorable to the non-moving party and draws all reasonable inferences in that party’s favor. Darst v. Interstate Brands Corp., 512 F.3d 903, 907 (7th Cir. 2008). It cannot weigh evidence or make credibility determinations on summary judgment because those tasks are left to the fact-finder. O’Leary v. Accretive Health, Inc., 657 F.3d 625, 630 (7th Cir. 2011). The Court need only consider the cited materials, Fed. R. Civ. P. 56(c)(3), and the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals has “repeatedly assured the district courts that they are not required to scour every inch of the record for evidence that is potentially relevant to the summary judgment motion before them,” Johnson, 325 F.3d at 898. Any doubt as to the existence of a genuine issue for trial is resolved against the moving party. Ponsetti v. GE Pension Plan, 614 F.3d 684, 691 (7th Cir. 2010).

II.

Background A.

Procedural Background

Konecranes originally brought this suit against both Mr. Davis and ICS, alleging four claims: (1) breach of contract against Mr. Davis; (2) breach of fiduciary duty against Mr. Davis; (3) tortious interference with contractual relationships against Mr. Davis and ICS; and (4) unfair competition against Mr. Davis and ICS. [Filing No. 1, at ECF pp. 6-9.] Mr. Davis and ICS moved to dismiss Counts III and IV of Konecranes’ Complaint, [Filing No. 14], and the Court granted the motion, [Filing No. 32]. Konecranes subsequently filed a two-count Amended Complaint, reasserting its breach of contract and breach of fiduciary duty claims against Mr. Davis. [Filing No. 44.] Mr. Davis and ICS then brought counterclaims of unfair competition and abuse of process against Konecranes. [Filing No. 48, at ECF pp. 3-5.] Konecranes moved to dismiss both of these counterclaims, [Filing No. 55], and the Court granted the motion, [Filing No. 76].

Accordingly, remaining in this case are Konecranes’ breach of contract and breach of fiduciary duty claims against Mr. Davis. Pending before the Court is Mr. Davis’ Motion for Summary Judgment, seeking summary judgment on both of Konecranes’ remaining claims. [Filing No. 73.] It is to this motion that the Court now turns.

B. Factual Background

Consistent with the standard of review, the Court draws the following factual background from the undisputed evidence and, if certain evidence is disputed, views that evidence in ...


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