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Gadley v. Ellis

United States District Court, W.D. Pennsylvania

June 26, 2015

GARY GADLEY, Plaintiff,
v.
JERRY ELLIS, trading as JERRY ELLIS CONSTRUCTION, Defendant.

MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER

KIM R. GIBSON, District Judge.

I. Introduction

Before the Court in this matter is Cincinnati Insurance Company's ("Cincinnati") motion to intervene. (ECF No. 63). In its motion, Cincinnati seeks to intervene in the present action for the sole purpose of "participating in the formulation of specific interrogatories to be submitted to the jury at the time of trial... so as to protect Cincinnati's interests." (ECF No. 63 at 2). Trial in this matter is currently scheduled to begin on July 20, 2015. For the reasons below, the Court will DENY Cincinnati's motion to intervene.

II. Jurisdiction and Venue

The Court has jurisdiction over the instant action pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1332 and 28 U.S.C. § 1441. Venue is proper under 28 U.S.C. § 1391.

III. Background

The Court recently set forth the facts underlying this action in its memorandum opinion on Plaintiff's motion for reconsideration, and now summarizes those facts as follows. (See ECF No. 68). This case arises from the construction of a timber frame home by Plaintiff, Gary Gadley, for his personal use. Plaintiff designed the home with the assistance of an architectural firm and served as his own general contractor during its construction. (ECF No. 18-1 at 9-14). For his roof, Plaintiff decided to use structural insulated panels ("SIPs") after learning about them from a friend and discussing the product with representatives from an SIP manufacturer at a timber frame conference. (Id. at 22-23). Plaintiff contracted with a company, Thermocore, to design and construct the SIPs for his home, and hired Defendant, Jerry Ellis Construction, [1] to install the SIP panels on his roof for $7, 550. (Id. at 24-25, 30; ECF No. 18-1 at 30-31).

Defendant installed the SIPs on Plaintiff's home between October 27, 2011, and October 29, 2011. (ECF No. 1-2 at ¶ 15, 22). Almost immediately, Plaintiff identified several shortcomings in the quality of the installation, including numerous gaps and misalignments between the panels, a lack of proper overhang at the edge of the roof, and the fact that the end of each SIP did not properly rest on a support rafter. (ECF No. 18-1 at 34-36, 39-40). Plaintiff also became alarmed at the amount of cutting and sledgehammering that Defendant had to do in order to get the panels to fit properly. (ECF No. 26-12 at 6-7). When Plaintiff raised these concerns, Defendant repeatedly assured him that the installation was proceeding in a normal manner and that nothing was wrong. (Id.).

Based on his belief that the SIP panels had been improperly installed, Plaintiff initiated the instant action by filing a complaint in the Court of Common Pleas of Somerset County on December 21, 2012. (ECF No. 1-2 at 3). Defendants removed the complaint to this Court on January 18, 2013. (Id. at 1). In his complaint, Plaintiff asserted a claim for breach of contract at Count I, a claim for breach of express and implied warranties at Count II, and a private cause of action pursuant to the Pennsylvania Unfair Trade Practices and Consumer Protection Law at Count III. On January 6, 2014, Defendant filed a partial motion for summary judgment, [2] arguing that Plaintiff's UTPCPL claim was barred by the gist of the action doctrine and/or the economic loss doctrine. (ECF No. 16). On July 23, 2014, the Court issued a memorandum opinion and order granting Defendant's motion for summary judgment as to Plaintiff's UTPCPL claim. (ECF No. 38). On May 15, 2015, the Court issued a memorandum opinion and order granting Plaintiff's motion for reconsideration. (ECF No. 68). The Court vacated its previous summary judgment ruling concerning Plaintiff's claims against Defendant under the UTPCPL at Count III of the complaint.

On April 8, 2015, Cincinnati filed the instant motion to intervene (ECF No. 63) along with a brief in support (ECF No. 64). On June 5, 2015, Plaintiff and Defendant filed their respective briefs in opposition to the motion to intervene. (ECF Nos. 71, 72, 73). Cincinnati then filed responses to both parties' briefs. (ECF Nos. 76, 77). Accordingly, Cincinnati's motion is now fully briefed and ripe for review.

IV. Standard of Review

The right of a nonparty to intervene in a lawsuit, either as a matter of right or with permission from the Court, is governed by Rule 24 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. Rule 24 states, in relevant part:

(a) Intervention of Right. On timely motion, the court must permit ...

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