Plaintiff, Polo Fashions Inc. has brought suit against defendants for the amount owing on an unconditional promissory note executed in plaintiff's favor by corporate defendant, The Haverford Corporation ("THC"). The note was guaranteed by individual defendants Joseph Egan, III and Kenneth Smith. Now ripe for this court's consideration is plaintiff's motion for summary judgment pursuant to Fed. R. Civ. P. 56. Plaintiff also moves this court to enter final judgment on its claim pursuant to Fed. R. Civ. P. 54(b). For the reasons set forth below, plaintiff's motions will be granted.
Under the terms of the note, THC was obligated to pay plaintiff $92,395.21 in twenty-four monthly installments, each such payment to become due the first day of each month commencing October 1, 1983. The first six monthly installments were to be in the amount of $3,000 each; the next seventeen installments were to be in the amount of $4,000 each; and, the balance was to be paid on September 1, 1985. In the event of default, the note provided for acceleration of any and all amounts due and payable, together with reasonable attorneys' fees incurred in enforcing payment thereof.
Under Rule 56, summary judgment may not be granted unless it can be shown that there is no genuine issue as to any material fact and that the moving party is entitled to judgment as a matter of law. Poller v. Columbia Broadcasting System, 368 U.S. 464, 467, 7 L. Ed. 2d 458, 82 S. Ct. 486 (1962); Teamsters Pension Trust Fund v. Philadelphia Fruit Exchange, 603 F. Supp. 877, 879 (E.D. Pa. 1985). In this case, it is undisputed that THC is in default of its obligations under the note. In the answer to plaintiff's complaint, defendants admit this fact. Thus, there is no dispute as to the material facts. Consequently, the only question remaining is whether plaintiff is entitled to judgment as a matter of law.
Defendants have asserted a counterclaim against plaintiff for tortious interference with contract. They attempt to use this counterclaim to shield themselves from liability under the note. In support of this position, they claim that THC defaulted on the note because of plaintiff's tortious interference with a contract that THC had with one of its suppliers. More specifically, they claim that but for plaintiff's interference, the default would not have occurred. The record before this court, however, clearly demonstrates that plaintiff's claim and defendants' counterclaim arise from separate and unrelated transactions or occurrences.
Defendants have admitted that THC failed to make the monthly payments due under the note on February 1, 1984 and March 1, 1984. Thus, THC was admittedly in default in early February, 1984. Taking the allegations set forth in defendants' counterclaim as true, plaintiff's tortious interference with a contract between THC and another entity, not a party to this action, did not occur until sometime after March 16, 1984. See Defendants' answer at paras. 21-26. Thus, any alleged tortious interference could not have caused the precedent default. Defendants have not pointed to any circumstances which would excuse their performance under the note.
Thus, plaintiff is entitled to judgment on its complaint as a matter of law. Accordingly, its Rule 56 motion will be granted.
I turn now to plaintiff's motion for entry of final judgment pursuant to Rule 54(b). That rule provides in pertinent part:
When more than one claim for relief is presented in an action, whether as a claim, counterclaim, cross claim, or third party claim, or when multiple parties are involved, the court may direct the entry of a final judgment as to one or more but fewer than all of the claims or parties only upon an express determination that there is no just reason for delay and upon an express direction for the entry of judgment.