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Sabre Industries Inc. v. Module X Solutions LLC

United States District Court, W.D. Louisiana, Shreveport Division

September 20, 2017

SABRE INDUSTRIES, INC.
v.
MODULE X SOLUTIONS, LLC, ET AL.

          HORNSBY MAGISTRATE JUDGE

          MEMORANDUM RULING

          S. MAURICE HICKS, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE

         Before the Court is a Motion for Summary Judgment (Record Document 96) filed by Third Party Defendant Thomas Jagielski (“Jagielski”). Jagielski seeks entry of summary judgment dismissing Count VIII of Defendants' Amended Third Party Complaint (Record Document 58). More specifically, Jagielski seeks dismissal of Counter-Plaintiff and Third Party Plaintiff Module X Solutions, LLC's (“MXS”) claim of tortious interference with a contract by a corporate officer. Defendants MXS, Steven L. Schoonover (“Schoonover”), Jeff Hood, and Jim Dean (collectively referred to as “Defendants”) and Counter-Plaintiff and Third Party Plaintiff MXS oppose the Motion for Summary Judgment. See Record Document 109. For the reasons set forth below, Jagielski's Motion for Summary Judgment is GRANTED and MXS's claim of tortious interference with a contract by a corporate officer against Jagielski is DISMISSED.

         BACKGROUND

         In Count VIII, MXS alleges that Jagielski tortiously interfered with the Joint Venture Agreement (the “JV Agreement”) between MXS and Sabre Industries, Inc. (“Sabre”) by causing Sabre to breach its obligation under the JV Agreement by “refusing to provide MXS with the required shelter orders . . ., and instead keeping this business for Sabre.” Record Document 58 at ¶ 274. MXS maintains that “an officer of a corporation has a duty not to interfere with that corporation's contractual relations.” Id. MXS further alleges that Jagielski had full knowledge of the JV Agreement, yet abused his position of authority at Sabre and “tortiously interfered with the success of the JV Agreement.” Id.

         Jagielski was not involved with negotiating the JV Agreement between MXS and Sabre. See Record Document 96-1 at ¶ 1. At all times relevant to the allegations in Count VIII of Defendants' Amended Third Party Complaint (Record Document 58), Jagielski was employed at Sabre as the Vice-President and General Manager of Sabre's CellXion facility. See id. at ¶ 2. As Vice-President and General Manager, his duties included all the duties of a general manager, that is, he was in charge of what went on at Sabre's CellXion facility. See id. at ¶ 3. Part of his duties at Sabre included managing the volume of work orders, including shelter orders, and deciding what shelters to send to MXS and what shelters to keep at Sabre based on the volume that Sabre had at any given time. See id. at ¶ 4.

         In support of his motion, Jagielski has submitted the declaration of Pete Sandore (“Sandore”), the CEO and President of Sabre. See Record Document 96-8. Sandore stated that he was CEO and President of Sabre at all time relevant to the allegations by MXS against Jagielski for tortious interference with a contract. See id. at ¶ 1. He further declared:

When Jagielski was involved in making decisions of what shelters to send to MXS and what shelters to keep at Sabre while the . . . JV Agreement between Sabre and MXS was in effect, Jagielski was acting within the scope of his authority as the Vice-President and General Manager of Sabre's CellXion facility.
When Jagielski was involved in making decisions of what shelters to send to MXS and what shelters to keep at Sabre while the JV Agreement was in effect, Jagielski was acting to benefit Sabre's interests. These decisions were based on the volume of orders at Sabre at that time.

Id. at ¶¶ 5-6. Conversely, Defendants contend in their Statement of Disputed Material Facts that Jagielski acted knowingly contrary to the best interest of Sabre and intentionally induced or caused Sabre to breach the JV Agreement, without justification. See Record Document 109-4.

         LAW AND ANALYSIS

         I. Summary Judgment Standard.

Rule 56(a) provides, in pertinent part:
Motion for Summary Judgment or Partial Summary Judgment. A party may move for summary judgment, identifying each claim or defense-or the part of each claim or defense-on which summary judgment is sought. The court shall grant summary judgment if the movant shows that there is no genuine dispute as to ...

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