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Target Corp. v. Prestige Facilities Services Group, Inc.

United States District Court, M.D. Florida, Fort Myers Division

May 22, 2018

TARGET CORPORATION, Third-Party Plaintiff,
v.
PRESTIGE FACILITIES SERVICES GROUP, INC. and GIUSEPPE TROMBA, Third Party Defendants.

          OPINION AND ORDER

          JOHN E. STEELE, SENIOR UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE

         This matter comes before the Court on the defendant's Motion for Summary Judgment Against Giuseppe Tromba a/k/a Joe Tromba (Doc. #33), filed on February 20, 2018. Plaintiff filed a verified Opposition (Doc. #44) in response on April 5, 2018.

         I.

         Summary judgment is appropriate only when the Court is satisfied that “there is no genuine issue as to any material fact and that the moving party is entitled to judgment as a matter of law.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(a). “An issue of fact is ‘genuine' if the record taken as a whole could lead a rational trier of fact to find for the nonmoving party.” Baby Buddies, Inc. v. Toys “R” Us, Inc., 611 F.3d 1308, 1314 (11th Cir. 2010). A fact is “material” if it may affect the outcome of the suit under governing law. Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 248 (1986). “A court must decide ‘whether the evidence presents a sufficient disagreement to require submission to a jury or whether it is so one-sided that one party must prevail as a matter of law.'” Hickson Corp. v. N. Crossarm Co., Inc., 357 F.3d 1256, 1260 (11th Cir. 2004) (citing Anderson, 477 U.S. at 251).

         In ruling on a motion for summary judgment, the Court views all evidence and draws all reasonable inferences in favor of the non-moving party. Scott v. Harris, 550 U.S. 372, 380 (2007); Tana v. Dantanna's, 611 F.3d 767, 772 (11th Cir. 2010). However, “if reasonable minds might differ on the inferences arising from undisputed facts, then the court should deny summary judgment.” St. Charles Foods, Inc. v. America's Favorite Chicken Co., 198 F.3d 815, 819 (11th Cir. 1999) (quoting Warrior Tombigbee Transp. Co. v. M/V Nan Fung, 695 F.2d 1294, 1296-97 (11th Cir. 1983) (finding summary judgment “may be inappropriate even where the parties agree on the basic facts, but disagree about the factual inferences that should be drawn from these facts”)). “If a reasonable fact finder evaluating the evidence could draw more than one inference from the facts, and if that inference introduces a genuine issue of material fact, then the court should not grant summary judgment.” Allen v. Bd. of Pub. Educ., 495 F.3d 1306, 1315 (11th Cir. 2007).

         II.

         Third-party plaintiff Target Corporation (Target) seeks summary judgment against defendant Giuseppe Tromba (Mr. Tromba or defendant) in the amount of $132, 319.59 based on certain admissions contained in Mr. Tromba's Amended Answer, the attached Declarations of Joel Peters and Matthew R. McBride, and primarily Mr. Tromba's failure to respond to Target's First Set of Interrogatories, Requests for Production of Documents, and Requests for Admission. Defendant's opposition to the motion does not dispute his failure to respond to the discovery requests, but does oppose summary judgment.

         As admitted in the Amended Answer, Target contracted with Prestige, a general contractor, to construct gender-neutral bathrooms in certain Minnesota stores. The agreement was governed by a Program Agreement for Goods and Services. (Doc. #15 & Doc. #27, ¶¶ 8-9.) Independently of the Target agreement, a Factoring Agreement was signed by Tromba's wife on behalf of Prestige which entitled Capital Solutions Bancorp LLC to receive the amounts Target owed to Prestige. (Doc. #2-1; Doc. #33-4, Exh. D.) Mr. Tromba did not sign the Factoring Agreement, and denies that there was an agreement.

         On March 2, 2017, in response to an email from Target, Prestige directed that all payments from Target should still be made to Prestige, and stated “I don't know why Capital [S]olutions Bancorp is contacting you, but they do not represent my company in any capacity nor provide any services.” Target responded that it seemed like there should be some correspondence between Prestige and Capital Solution, to which Prestige replied “I will have my attorney contact [Capital] tomorrow” and “They do not represent [Prestige] in any capacity.” (Doc. #15 & Doc. #27, ¶¶ 21 22 23.) Target paid the money under its agreement to Prestige, only to be sued by Capital, which asserted it was entitled to the money that Target had paid to Prestige. Target eventually paid Capital $132, 319.59 to settle that claim. (Doc. #33-3, Exh. C.)

         On December 7, 2017, Target served Tromba with its First Set of Interrogatories, Requests for Production of Documents, and Requests for Admission by electronic mail and by U.S. Mail. Responses were due on January 6, 2018. Tromba failed to timely respond to the discovery requests. (Doc. #33-2, Exh. B.) The following facts are established by the Requests for Admission:

REQUEST NO 1: Admit that Prestige is bound by the General Contract.
REQUEST NO 2: Admit that Target paid Prestige all amounts owed to Prestige under the General Contract.
REQUEST NO 3: Admit that Prestige failed to pay one or more Subcontractors in full in connection with work performed on the Project.
REQUEST NO 4: Admit that Prestige failed to take· any action to cause any lien(s) that attached to any Target asset in connection with the Project to be released, bonded against, and/or discharged.
REQUEST NO 5: Admit that Prestige entered into the Factoring Agreement with Capital.
REQUEST NO 6: Admit that Tromba authored the email described in paragraph 21 of the ...

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