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Equipment Finance, LLC v. Hutchison

September 24, 2010

EQUIPMENT FINANCE, LLC, PLAINTIFF
v.
STEVEN M. HUTCHISON, AND BLUE HORIZON VEGETATIVE RECYCLING & LAND CLEARING, INC., DEFENDANTS



The opinion of the court was delivered by: James Knoll Gardner, United States District Judge

OPINION

This matter is before the court on the Motion for Summary Judgment filed by defendants Steven M. Hutchison and Blue Horizon Vegetative Recycling & Land Clearing, Inc. on January 13, 2010. The Answer of Equipment Finance, LLC to Motion for Summary Judgment was filed by plaintiff on January 26, 2010. The matter was briefed, and at the conclusion of oral argument on April 21, 2010, I took the matter under advisement. Hence this Opinion.

Defendants base their Motion for Summary Judgment on two affirmative defenses: the statute of limitations and the statute of frauds. Because defendants do not meet their initial burden as movants for summary judgment on these issues, and because defendants failed to file the statement of undisputed facts required by my Rule 16 Status Conference Order, I deny defendants' Motion for Summary Judgment.

JURISDICTION

This action is before the court on diversity jurisdiction. Plaintiff Equipment Finance LLC is a limited liability company which is a citizen of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. Defendant Steven M. Hutchinson is an individual who is a citizen of the State of North Carolina. Defendant Blue Horizon Vegetative Recycling and Land Clearing, Inc., is a North Carolina corporation. The amount in controversy is in excess of $75,000. See 28 U.S.C. § 1332.

VENUE

Venue is proper because the facts and circumstances giving rise to the cause of action occurred in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, which is in this judicial district. 28 U.S.C. § 1391.

STANDARD OF REVIEW

Summary judgment is appropriate where there is no genuine issue as to any material fact and the movant is entitled to judgment as a matter of law. Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(c)(2); Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 247, 106 S.Ct. 2505, 91 L.Ed.2d 202 (1986); Startzell v. City of Philadelphia, 533 F.3d 183, 192 (3d Cir. 2008). The movant bears the initial responsibility of informing the district court of the basis for its motion, and identifying those portions of the record which it believes demonstrate the absence of a genuine issue of material fact. Celotex, 477 U.S. at 323; El v. Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority, 479 F.3d 232, 237 (3d Cir. 2007).

The movant must set forth the legal elements of its theory and point to specific evidence which supports each element. Combustion Systems Services, Inc. v. Schuylkill Energy Resources, Inc., 1994 U.S.Dist. LEXIS 7133, *11 (E.D.Pa. May 18, 1994) (Huyett, S.J.); accord Board of Sapphire Bay Condominiums West v. Simpson, 2010 U.S.Dist. LEXIS 59817, *9-10 (D.V.I. June 14, 2010) (Stengel, J.).

In addition, the movant must provide specific citations to the relevant portions of the record. E.g., Handeen v. Lemaire, 112 F.3d 1339, 1345-1346 (8th Cir. 1997); Lexion Medical, LLC v. Northgate Technologies, Inc., 618 F.Supp.2d 896, 899 (N.D.Ill. 2009); Murray v. Edwards County Sheriff's Department, 453 F.Supp.2d 1280, 1285 (D.Kan. 2006).

Where the movant does not bear the burden of persuasion at trial, it may satisfy its burden of production by merely showing that there is a lack of evidence to support the non-movant's claim. Celotex, 477 U.S. at 325; National State Bank v. Federal Reserve Bank of New York, 979 F.2d 1579, 1582 (3d Cir. 1992).

On the other hand, where the movant does bear the burden of persuasion at trial, it must meet a more stringent standard: it "must show that it has produced enough evidence to support the findings of fact necessary to win." El, 479 F.3d at 237. Put another way, it is inappropriate to grant summary judgment in favor of a moving party who bears the burden of proof at trial "unless a ...


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