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Imi Huntsville, LLC v. Heritage Club, Inc.

United States District Court, N.D. Alabama, Northeastern Division

August 25, 2014

IMI HUNTSVILLE, LLC, Plaintiff,
v.
THE HERITAGE CLUB, INC., Defendant.

MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER

LYNWOOD SMITH, Jr., District Judge.

This action arises from a lease agreement between plaintiff, IMI Huntsville, LLC ("IMI"), and defendant, The Heritage Club, Inc., for restaurant space in Huntsville, Alabama.[1] In its complaint, IMI asserts a claim for breach of contract and requests that this court grant a landlord's lien against the Heritage Club's personal property remaining on the leased premises.[2]

Federal jurisdiction is based on the diversity statute. 28 U.S.C. ยง 1332(a)(1). There is complete diversity of citizenship between the plaintiff and the defendant, [3] and the amount in controversy exceeds the jurisdictional threshold of $75, 000, exclusive of interest and costs.[4]

IMI has moved for summary judgment in its favor on both of its claims. Despite this court's order stating that the Heritage Club's response to IMI's motion was "due on or before February 14, 2014, "[5] the Heritage Club never responded.[6] Even so, this court cannot enter summary judgment by default. The Eleventh Circuit has observed that:

the district court cannot base the entry of summary judgment on the mere fact that the motion was unopposed but, rather, must consider the merits of the motion." [ United States v. One Piece of Real Property Located at 5800 SW 74th Ave., 363 F.3d 1099, ] 1101 [(11th Cir. 2004)].... Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(e) provides that where "the adverse party does not respond, summary judgment, if appropriate, shall be entered against the adverse party.'" Id. at 1101 (quoting Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(e)) (emphasis in the original).

Trustees of the Central Pension Fund of the International Union of Operating Engineers and Participating Employers v. Wolf Crane Service, Inc., 374 F.3d 1035, 1039 (11th Cir. 2004) (alterations supplied).

Therefore, following consideration of the pleadings and of plaintiff's brief and evidentiary submissions, this court concludes that summary judgment is due to be entered in favor of plaintiff.

I. STANDARD OF REVIEW

Summary judgment should be entered "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). The party requesting summary judgment always bears the initial responsibility of informing the court of the basis for its motion, and of identifying those portions of the pleadings, depositions, answers to interrogatories, and admissions on file, together with the affidavits, if any, that demonstrate the absence of a genuine issue of material fact. See, e.g., Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 323 (1986). Once the moving party has met its burden, Rule 56(c) requires the nonmoving party to go beyond the pleadings, and by its own affidavits, or by the depositions, answers to interrogatories, and admissions on file, to designate specific facts showing that there is a genuine issue for trial. See id. at 324. Any reasonable dispute or doubt as to any material fact, and all justifiable inferences, are resolved in favor of the non-moving party. See Fitzpatrick v. City of Atlanta, 2 F.3d 1112, 1115 (11th Cir. 1993) (quoting United States v. Four Parcels of Real Property, 941 F.2d 1428, 1437 (11th Cir. 1991)). The materiality of a fact is determined by the substantive law at issue. See Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 248 (1986). A "genuine" dispute is one in which a reasonable jury could find for the non-moving party. Id.

In making this determination, the court must review all evidence and make all reasonable inferences in favor of the party opposing summary judgment.
The mere existence of some factual dispute will not defeat summary judgment unless that factual dispute is material to an issue affecting the outcome of the case. The relevant rules of substantive law dictate the materiality of a disputed fact. A genuine issue of material fact does not exist unless there is sufficient evidence favoring the nonmoving party for a reasonable jury to return a verdict in its favor.

Chapman v. AI Transport, 229 F.3d 1012, 1023 (11th Cir. 2000) ( en banc ) (quoting Haves v. City of Miami, 52 F.3d 918, 921 (11th Cir. 1995)); see also United States v. Four Parcels of Real Property, 941 F.2d 1428, 1437 (11th Cir. 1991) ( en banc ).

II. FACTS

The Heritage Club entered into a lease agreement with Huntsville Shores, LLC, on March 7, 2010, by the terms of which it agreed to rent 10, 137 square feet of restaurant space located at "The Bridge Street Town Centre" in Huntsville, Alabama.[7] ...


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