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BHP Inc. v. Titan Energy Systems Inc.

United States District Court, E.D. Wisconsin

February 19, 2019

BHP INC., doing business as Global Power Components, Plaintiff,
v.
TITAN ENERGY SYSTEMS INC., doing business as Pioneer Critical Power, Defendant.

          DECISION AND ORDER GRANTING PLAINTIFF'S MOTION FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT

          DAVID E. JONES UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE

         In July 2017, Pioneer Critical Power entered into a contract to purchase two generator enclosures from Global Power Components. GPC delivered the enclosures in December 2017, but Pioneer paid only 50% of the total purchase price. In March 2018, GPC filed suit in federal court, alleging that Pioneer's failure to pay the balance due constituted a material breach of the enclosure contract.

         GPC has moved for summary judgment on liability. Pioneer opposes the motion, arguing that a genuine issue of fact exists as to whether GPC substantially performed its obligations under the contract. The Court disagrees. The undisputed facts demonstrate that GPC is entitled to judgment as a matter of law on its breach-of-contract claim. GPC's motion will therefore be granted.

         I. Background

         BHP Inc., doing business as Global Power Components, is a Wisconsin corporation that designs, fabricates, and assembles custom products used for power generation, including fuel tanks, tank enclosures, trailers, and containers. See Amended Complaint ¶ 1, ECF No. 2; see also Plaintiffs Proposed Statement of Material Facts ¶ 1, ECF No. 24. Titan Energy Systems Inc., doing business as Pioneer Critical Power, is a Minnesota corporation that sells advanced equipment and service solutions for onsite emergency power. Am. Compl. ¶ 2; Pl.'s Facts ¶ 2.

         On or about July 25, 2017, GPC provided a quote to Pioneer to sell two generator enclosures for use at the Camp Ripley project in Minnesota. Pl.'s Facts ¶ 3 (citing Exhibit A to Declaration of Marty Ring, ECF No. 25-1). Two days later, Pioneer accepted the quote by issuing a purchase order to GPC. Pl.'s Facts ¶ 8 (citing Exhibit C to Ring Decl., ECF No. 25-3. The purchase price for the two enclosures was $266, 900.00. Pl.'s Facts ¶ 9. GPC invoiced Pioneer for the two enclosures on November 30, 2017, indicating that payment was due in 20 days. Pl.'s Facts ¶ 11 (citing Exhibit D to Ring Decl., ECF No. 25-4; Exhibit E to Ring Decl., ECF No. 25-5). The enclosures were shipped shortly thereafter. Pl.'s Facts ¶ 12. On January 12, 2018, Pioneer paid GPC 50% of the purchase price. Pl.'s Facts ¶ 13. Pioneer has not paid GPC the remaining 50%. Pl.'s Facts ¶ 14.

         On March 21, 2018, GPC filed this diversity action against Pioneer. See Complaint, ECF No. 1. The matter was randomly assigned to this Court, and all parties consented to magistrate judge jurisdiction. See Consent to Proceed Before a Magistrate Judge, ECF Nos. 8, 11 (citing 28 U.S.C. § 636(c) and Fed.R.Civ.P. 73(b)). GPC claims that Pioneer breached the enclosure contract by failing to pay the remaining 50% of the purchase price, see Am. Compl. ¶¶ 14-16, and that, according to the terms and conditions of the contract, GPC is entitled to interest (1.25% per month) and attorney fees, see Am. Compl. ¶¶ 12-13, ; Pl.'s Facts ¶¶ 5-7, 15-17.

         On September 21, 2018, GPC filed a motion for summary judgment on liability. See Plaintiff's Motion for Partial Summary Judgment, ECF No. 22. That Motion is now fully briefed and ready for disposition. See Plaintiff's Memorandum of Law in Support of Plaintiff's Motion for Partial Summary Judgment, ECF No. 23; Defendant's Memorandum in Opposition to Plaintiff's Motion for Summary Judgment, ECF No. 31; Plaintiff's Reply Brief, ECF No. 32.

         II. Summary Judgment Standard

         “The court shall grant summary judgment 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). “Material facts” are those that, under the applicable substantive law, “might affect the outcome of the suit.” See Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 248 (1986). A dispute over a material fact is “genuine” “if the evidence is such that a reasonable jury could return a verdict for the nonmoving party.” Id.

         A moving party “is ‘entitled to a judgment as a matter of law'” when “the nonmoving party has failed to make a sufficient showing on an essential element of [its] case with respect to which [it] has the burden of proof.” Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 323 (1986). Still,

a party seeking summary judgment always bears the initial responsibility of informing the district court of the basis for its motion, and identifying those portions of the pleadings, depositions, answers to interrogatories, and admissions on file, together with the affidavits, if any, which it believes demonstrate the absence of a genuine issue of material fact.

Id. (internal quotation marks omitted).

         To determine whether a genuine issue of material fact exists, the court must review the record, construing all facts in the light most favorable to the nonmoving party and drawing all reasonable inferences in that party's favor. See Heft v. Moore, 351 F.3d 278, 282 (7th Cir. 2003) (citing Liberty Lobby, 477 U.S. at 255). “However, [the court's] favor toward the nonmoving party does not extend to drawing inferences that are supported by only speculation or conjecture.” Fitzgerald v. Santoro, 707 F.3d 725, 730 (7th Cir. 2013) (quoting Harper v. C.R. Eng., Inc., 687 F.3d 297, 306 (7th Cir. 2012)). That is, “to survive summary judgment, the non-moving party must establish some genuine issue for ...


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