United States District Court, W.D. Louisiana, Shreveport Division
SABRE INDUSTRIES, INC.
MODULE X SOLUTIONS, LLC, ET AL.
HORNSBY MAGISTRATE JUDGE
MAURICE HICKS, JR. UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
the Court is a Motion for Summary Judgment (Record Document
97) filed by Plaintiff and Counter-Defendant Sabre
Industries, Inc. (“Sabre”). Sabre seeks entry of
summary judgment dismissing Count XI of Defendants’
Amended Counterclaim (Record Document 58), that is, Defendant
Steven L. Schoonover’s (“Schoonover”) claim
for intentional infliction of emotional distress. Defendants
Module X Solutions, LLC (“MXS”), Schoonover, Jeff
Hood, and Jim Dean and Counter-Plaintiff and Third Party
Plaintiff MXS (collectively referred to as
“Defendants”) oppose the Motion for Summary
Judgment. See Record Document 114. For the reasons
set forth below, Sabre’s Motion for Summary Judgment is
GRANTED and Schoonover’s claim for
intentional infliction of emotional distress is
April 24, 2014, Sabre and MXS entered into a Joint Venture
Agreement (“JV Agreement”). See Docket
58 at ¶ 196; see also Record Document 97-5 (JV
Agreement). The JV Agreement contained various
representations by both Sabre and MXS. See Record
Document 97-1 at ¶ 2 (Statement of Undisputed Material
Facts). Sabre terminated the JV Agreement on April 6, 2015.
See id. at ¶ 3, citing Record Document 97-6
(Letter dated April 6, 2015).
terminating the JV Agreement, Sabre initiated this lawsuit in
October 2015 seeking to recover resulting damages. See
id. at ¶ 4, citing Record Document 1. After being
sued by Sabre, MXS filed a Counterclaim against Sabre.
See id. at ¶ 4, citing Record Document 14. MXS
subsequently amended its Counterclaim to include a Louisiana
state law cause of action for intentional infliction of
emotional distress. See Record Document 58 (Count
XI) at ¶¶ 282-284. In Count XI, Schoonover alleges:
Sabre knowingly and intentionally made the false statements
referenced above to Schoonover in order to prevent him from
competing with Sabre in the concrete shelter market, to
induce him to continue to invest money into MXS and the JV
Agreement even though . . . Sabre knew that Sabre intended to
breach its obligations under the JV Agreement. . . . Sabre
knew and intended that Schoonover would believe and rely on
[the] false assurances and that his reliance would cause him
severe and harmful emotional and financial distress - at a
time when they knew that Schoonover was already under severe
emotional distress due to his wife’s serious illness
and her comprehensive and lengthy necessary medical
treatment. . . .
. . . Sabre’s false statements and allegation in this
lawsuit . . . to the effect that Sabre was
“extorted” by Schoonover into entering the JV
Agreement, that MXS and Schoonover fraudulently induced Sabre
to enter the JV Agreement and that Schoonover induced and
caused MXS to breach the JV Agreement were also intended to
and have caused Schoonover severe emotional distress.
These intentional false statements made to Schooner during
the term of the JV Agreement and in this lawsuit constitute
extreme and outrageous conduct intended to cause him severe
emotional distress and [Sabre is] therefore . . . liable to
him for intentional infliction of emotional distress and for
all damages arising from [its] statements and his resulting
severe emotional distress.
written interrogatory responses, Schoonover set forth a list
of false statements and representations made by Sabre which
he believes caused him severe emotional distress.
See Record Document 97-7 at 3-4 (Answer to
Interrogatory No. 3). These statements and representations
all related to the JV Agreement and included that Schoonover
extorted Sabre into the JV Agreement; Schoonover solicited
business from Sabre’ customers in violation of the JV
Agreement; Schoonover had no intention of making the JV
Agreement work; and Schoonover intended to steal
Sabre’s customers and key employees and harm Sabre.
See id. Schoonover alleges that these statements and
representations caused him to suffer extreme emotional
distress. See id. In his written interrogatory
responses, Schoonover stated that he had consulted with Dr.
William Lent (“Dr. Lent”) about his distress and
his inability to sleep. See id. (Answer to
Interrogatory No. 11) at 7.
now moves for summary judgment as to Schoonover’s
intentional infliction of emotional distress claim.
See Record Document 97. More specifically, Sabre
argues that “Schoonover has no evidence to carry his
burden of proving a claim for intentional infliction of
emotional distress because he has no evidence he suffered
severe emotional distress, has no evidence Sabre’s
conduct was extreme and outrageous, and has no evidence Sabre
desired to inflict severe emotional distress or knew that
severe emotional distress would be certain or substantially
certain to result from its conduct.” Record Document
97-2 at 1-2. Conversely, relying almost exclusively upon his
own affidavit, Schoonover maintains that “Sabre’s
conduct was extreme, outrageous, and was intentionally
inflicted upon [him]” and that he “suffered
severe emotional distress as a result of Sabre’s
extreme, outrageous, and intentionally inflicted
conduct.” Record Document 114-1 at ¶¶ 1-2.
Schoonover alleges that “Sabre management made jokes at
the expense of [his] anxiety and emotional distress, which
was heightened by calling him ‘crazy.’”
Id. at ¶ 3.