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Shulman v. Chromatex

October 8, 2010

ALAN SHULMAN, ET AL., PLAINTIFFS,
v.
CHROMATEX, INC., ET AL., DEFENDANTS.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Judge McClure

MEMORANDUM

I. BACKGROUND

On February 5, 2009, plaintiffs Alan Shulman; Stanley Siegel; Ruth Cherenson, as personal representative of the estate of Alan Cherenson; and Adrienne Rolla and M.F. Rolla, as executors of the estate of Joseph Byrnes ("Plaintiffs"), instituted this civil action. (Rec. Doc. No. 1). Plaintiffs named as defendants in their original complaint Chromatex, Inc. ("Chromatex"); Rossville Industries, Inc. ("Rossville Industries"); Rossville Companies, Inc. ("Rossville Companies"); Rossville Investments, Inc. F/k/a A&E Leasing Company ("Rossville Investments"); and Culp, Inc. ("Culp").

At issue in the case is what party or parties should be deemed liable for additional and future response costs incurred by the United States Environmental Protection Agency ("EPA") concerning a property located in the Valmont Industrial Park in Luzerne County, Pennsylvania ("Property"). The Property was purchased in July of 1978 by The Valmont Group, apparently a Pennsylvania general partnership,*fn1 comprised of partners Alan Shulman, Stanley Siegel, Alan Cherenson, James Cochran, and Joseph Byrnes.

II. PROCEDURAL HISTORY

On March 24, 2008, defendant Culp filed an answer to the original complaint, as well as a cross-claim against Chromatex, Rossville Industries, Rossville Companies, and Rossville Investments. (Rec. Doc. No. 13). On April 9, 2008, defendants Chromatex, Rossville Industries, Rossville Companies, and Rossville Investments filed an answer to the complaint. (Rec. Doc. No. 16). Defendants Chromatex, Rossville Industries, Rossville Companies, and Rossville Investments filed an answer to defendant Culp's cross-claim on April 14, 2008. (Rec. Doc. No. 17).

On December 23, 2008, the Honorable A. Richard Caputo granted the motion by counsel for Chromatex, Rossville Industries, Rossville Companies, and Rossville Investments to withdraw as counsel. (Rec. Doc. Nos. 23 and 22). The instant case was reassigned to the undersigned judge on January 9, 2009. (Rec. Doc. No. 26). On January 22, 2009, this court denied the plaintiffs' motion seeking to direct the defendants to secure replacement counsel. (Rec. Doc. No. 27 and 26).

Plaintiffs filed a motion to compel discovery on February 26, 2009, as well as a brief in support. (Rec. Doc. Nos. 32 and 33). On March 25, 2009, this court granted the plaintiffs' motion to compel discovery. (Rec. Doc. No. 34). The plaintiffs filed a renewed motion to compel responses to discovery requests that were served on Rossville Industries and a brief in support thereof. (Rec. Doc. Nos. 37 and 38). This court granted the plaintiffs' renewed motion to compel discovery on June 2, 2009. (Rec. Doc. No. 42).

On June 1, 2009, plaintiffs filed a motion seeking to extend the time in which to complete discovery. (Rec. Doc. No. 39). Although defendant Culp did not oppose the motion, Culp did file a response in which it clarified several statements made by plaintiffs in their motion seeking to extend time in which to complete discovery. (Rec. Doc. No. 40). On June 2, 2009, this court granted the plaintiffs' motion. (Rec. Doc. No. 41). This court granted an additional motion for an extension of the discovery period on October 16, 2009. (Rec. Doc. Nos. 53 and 49).

On September 18, 2009, the plaintiffs filed a motion in which they sought leave to file an amended complaint. (Rec. Doc. No. 43). After briefing, we granted this motion on December 16, 2009. (Rec. Doc. No. 57). On December 17, 2009, plaintiffs filed an amended complaint. (Rec. Doc. No. 58).

With their amended complaint, the plaintiffs have added a number of defendants. These additional defendants include Ronald W. Satterfield; Virginia C. Love and Suntrust Bank as executors of the estate of W. Frank Hutcheson; Feldspar Investments, LLC; and Feldspar Properties, LLC.

In addition, with their amended complaint, the plaintiffs have added a number of new claims. These new claims include a tortious interference with contract claim against Rossville Companies, Rossville Investments, Ronald W. Satterfield ("Satterfield") and the executors of the estate of W. Frank Hutcheson ("Hutcheson"), and Culp (Count V); a claim for fraudulent conveyance in violation of the Pennsylvania Uniform Fraudulent Conveyance Act, 39 P.S. § 351 et seq., against Chromatex, Rossville Industries, Rossville Companies, Rossville Investments, and Satterfield and Hutcheson (Count VI); and, pursuant to the Pennsylvania Uniform Fraudulent Transfer Act, 12 Pa.C.S. § 5101 et seq., a claim for fraudulent transfer against Chromatex, Rossville Industries, Rossville Companies, Rossville Investments, Satterfield and Hutcheson, and Feldspar Investments and Feldspar Properties (Count VII). The amended complaint also includes a conspiracy to defraud creditors claim against Chromatex, Rossville Industries, Rossville Companies, Rossville Investments, Satterfield and Hutcheson, and Culp (Count VIII); a breach of fiduciary duty claim against Rossville Companies, Rossville Investments, and Satterfield and Hutcheson (Count IX); and an equitable accounting claim against Chromatex, Rossville Industries, Rossville Companies, Rossville Investments, Satterfield and Hutcheson, Feldspar Investments and Feldspar Properties, and Culp (Count X). Finally, plaintiffs added an unjust enrichment claim against Rossville Companies, Rossville Investments, Satterfield and Hutcheson, and Feldspar Investments and Feldspar Properties (Count XI).

On January 8, 2010, defendant Culp filed an answer to the amended complaint, as well as a counterclaim against the plaintiffs and a cross-claim against Chromatex, Rossville Companies, and Rossville Investments. (Rec. Doc. No. 62). On January 26, 2010, defendants Chromatex, Rossville Industries, Rossville Companies, Rossville Investments, Satterfield, Feldspar Investments, and Feldspar Properties ("Rossville Defendants") filed an answer to the amended complaint, as well as a counterclaim against the plaintiffs and a third party complaint against The Valmont Group, a general partnership with its principal place of business in Pennsylvania. (Rec. Doc. No. 71). Virginia C. Love and SunTrust Bank, co-executors of the estate of W. Frank Hutcheson, filed their answer, with affirmative defenses, on March 5, 2010. (Rec. Doc. No. 87).

On January 29, 2010, plaintiffs filed a motion to dismiss defendant Culp's counterclaims. (Rec. Doc. No. 72). On February 4, 2010, the Rossville Defendants filed a "Motion to Dismiss or, in the Alternative, to Stay Proceedings." (Rec. Doc. No. 75). Plaintiffs filed a motion to dismiss the counterclaims filed by the Rossville Defendants. (Rec. Doc. No. 81). On March 24, 2010, after these motions were fully briefed by the parties, this court granted the plaintiffs' motion to dismiss Culp's counterclaims (Rec. Doc. No. 72), denied the Rossville Defendants' motion to dismiss or stay the ...


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