United States District Court, M.D. Florida, Tampa Division
C. BUCKLEW, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
cause comes before the Court on Defendant's Motion for
Summary Judgment. (Doc. No. 46). Plaintiff opposes the
motion. (Doc. No. 54). The Court held a hearing on this
motion on February 7, 2018. As explained below, the motion is
December of 2014, Plaintiff Oil Consulting Enterprise, Inc.
contracted with Defendant Hawker Beechcraft Global Customer
Support, LLC to perform a Phase I-IV pre-purchase inspection
on King Air 350 aircraft at Defendant's Tampa facility
(“First Inspection”). (Doc. No. 46-2). The
proposal for the services to be provided during the First
Inspection show that Defendant agreed to perform certain
inspections, to perform airframe maintenance, and to paint
the aircraft. (Doc. No. 46-2). The estimated cost of the
inspections was $16, 020, with the total estimated cost for all
services being $103, 048. (Doc. No. 46-2). Plaintiff
ultimately paid Defendant $178, 837.47 for the First
Inspection and related repairs. (Doc. No. 46-3). During the First
Inspection, no major corrosion damage was discovered.
in May of 2015, Plaintiff sold the aircraft to non-party
Cedarcroft Commercial Corp. (“Cedarcroft”). (Doc.
No. 46-1). At the end of 2015, Cedarcroft entered into an
agreement to sell the aircraft to non-party RACI Management,
LLC. (Doc. No. 46-6). The purchase agreement was contingent
on a pre-purchase inspection. (Doc. No. 46-6).
January 7, 2016, the aircraft was taken to the Cessna Service
Center (“Cessna”) in San Antonio, Texas for a
pre-purchase inspection (“Second Inspection”).
During the Second Inspection, significant corrosion was
detected, and a Cessna report dated May 18, 2016 noted that
some of the corrosion was accompanied by blue residue, which
the report identified as being Blue Lagoon toilet fluid.
(Doc. No. 46-8).
contends that the extensive corrosion that was discovered
during the Second Inspection must have existed during the
First Inspection. As a result, on November 23, 2016,
Plaintiff filed suit against Defendant in state court, and
Defendant later removed the case to this Court.
amended complaint, Plaintiff alleges that Defendant breached
their contract to conduct the First Inspection and that
Defendant negligently performed the First Inspection by
failing to discover the extensive corrosion on the aircraft.
(Doc. No. 18). In its amended complaint and in its answers to
interrogatories, Plaintiff identified its damages as
consisting of over $953, 000 as follows: (1) the repair bill
for the corrosion discovered during the Second Inspection;
(2) the loss of use of the aircraft during the seven months
that the aircraft was undergoing the Second Inspection and
related repairs; (3) the interest paid by Cedarcroft on its
loan to pay for the aircraft; and (4) the amount that
Cedarcroft had to reduce the sales price for RACI Management,
LLC's purchase of the aircraft due to the discovery of
Defendant's Motion for Summary Judgment
moves for summary judgment, arguing that Plaintiff's
breach of contract claim fails because: (1) the damages it
identifies were not suffered by Plaintiff, and (2)
Plaintiff's expert testimony does not show that the
corrosion found at the Second Inspection existed during the
First Inspection. At the hearing on the motion for summary
judgment, the Court also addressed the parties' motions
attacking each other's expert opinions. The Court's
ruling on those motions will be issued in a separate order at
a later date, but the Court rejects Defendant's arguments
that Plaintiff has no evidence that any of the corrosion
found at the Second Inspection existed during the First
to Defendant's damages argument, it appears that
Plaintiff concedes that the damages that it was previously
seeking are not available, because those damages were not
suffered by Plaintiff. Instead, Plaintiff now argues that it
was damaged to the extent that it paid for a Phase I-IV
inspection in Tampa, but it did not receive all that it paid
for to the extent that Defendant did not discover the
extensive corrosion that was discovered during the Second
Court agrees with Plaintiff that if it can prove that some of
the corrosion found at the Second Inspection existed during
the First Inspection, that would be sufficient proof that
Plaintiff was damaged by paying for an inspection and not
receiving the full value of an inspection done completely and
correctly. At the hearing, Plaintiff conceded that its
damages cannot exceed the $178, 837.47 it paid Defendant for
the First Inspection and related repairs.
at trial, Plaintiff will have to prove the amount of its
damages to a reasonable certainty. Mobilpref, SpA. v.
Coastal Construction of South Florida, Inc., 2017 WL
783514, at *23 (S.D. Fla. 2017)(citations omitted). The
measure of Plaintiff's damages is the difference in value
between: (a) the value of a Phase I-IV inspection and repairs
done correctly and completely, and (b) the value of the Phase
I-IV inspection and repairs that Plaintiff received. This
means that Plaintiff will have to provide evidence of the
amount of the diminished value of
the Phase I-IV inspection and repairs that it received.
experts have not proffered any opinions regarding the
diminished value of the First Inspection as completed by
Defendant, and as such, it appears that Plaintiff will be
leaving the valuation determination to the jury. Since the
amount of damages must be proven to a reasonable certainty,
it appears that the jury will have to rely on the invoice for
the First Inspection and simply total the amounts for worked
charged that Plaintiff proves was not done correctly or
completely. While the Court is not capping damages below the
$178, 837.47 invoiced amount (which Defendant has invited the
Court to do), it appears to this Court that without expert