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The Windward Group, LLC v. Reva Solutions, Inc.

United States District Court, E.D. Louisiana

December 13, 2017

THE WINDWARD GROUP, LLC
v.
REVA SOLUTIONS, INC.

         SECTION I

          ORDER & REASONS

          LANCE M. AFRICK UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE

         Before the Court is a motion for partial summary judgment filed by defendant Reva Solutions, Inc. (“Reva”) regarding the ability of plaintiff The Windward Group, LLC (“Windward”) to recover damages for lost profits. For the following reasons, the motion is denied.

         I.

         In June 2015, Windward entered into a contract with Murphy USA, Inc. (“Murphy USA”) to provide support services for Murphy's content management program. In connection with its Murphy USA contract, Windward hired Reva as a subcontractor to provide technical assistance.

         Pursuant to its agreement with Windward, Reva submitted invoices to Windward for the work it performed. As the project progressed, Murphy USA allegedly began to question the amounts associated with several invoices submitted by Reva. Murphy USA ultimately canceled its contract with Windward.

         Windward then brought the present lawsuit against Reva alleging breach of contract, tortious interference with business relations, negligence, detrimental reliance, and violations of the Louisiana Unfair Trade Practices Act (“LUTPA”). Windward asserts that Reva overcharged for services it performed and billed for work not actually performed on the Murphy USA project, thereby leading Murphy USA to cancel its contract with Windward.

         Windward contends that, as a result of Reva's conduct, it incurred a variety of damages, including lost profits. Reva now moves for partial summary judgment on the ground that recovery for lost profits is precluded by the contract in place between itself and Windward. Windward opposes the motion.

         II.

         Summary judgment is proper when, after reviewing the pleadings, the discovery and disclosure materials on file, and any affidavits, the court determines that there is no genuine dispute of material fact. See Fed. R. Civ. P. 56. “[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 record] which it believes demonstrate the absence of a genuine issue of material fact.” Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 323 (1986). The party seeking summary judgment need not produce evidence negating the existence of material fact, but need only point out the absence of evidence supporting the other party's case. Id.; Fontenot v. Upjohn Co., 780 F.2d 1190, 1195 (5th Cir. 1986).

         Once the party seeking summary judgment carries its burden, the nonmoving party must come forward with specific facts showing that there is a genuine dispute of material fact for trial. Matsushita Elec. Indus. Co. v. Zenith Radio Corp., 475 U.S. 574, 587 (1986). The showing of a genuine issue is not satisfied by creating “‘some metaphysical doubt as to the material facts, ' by ‘conclusory allegations, ' by ‘unsubstantiated assertions, ' or by only a ‘scintilla' of evidence.” Little v. Liquid Air Corp., 37 F.3d 1069, 1075 (5th Cir. 1994) (citations omitted). Instead, a genuine issue of material fact exists when the “evidence is such that a reasonable jury could return a verdict for the nonmoving party.” Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 248 (1986). “Although the substance or content of the evidence submitted to support or dispute a fact on summary judgment must be admissible . . ., the material may be presented in a form that would not, in itself, be admissible at trial.” Lee v. Offshore Logistical and Transp., LLC, 859 F.3d 353, 355 (5th Cir. 2017) (quotation omitted).

         The party responding to the motion for summary judgment may not rest upon the pleadings but must identify specific facts that establish a genuine issue. Anderson, 477 U.S. at 248. The nonmoving party's evidence, however, “is to be believed, and all justifiable inferences are to be drawn in [the nonmoving party's] favor.” Id. at 255; see also Hunt v. Cromartie, 526 U.S. 541, 552 (1999).

         III.

         In 2015 Murphy USA issued a request for proposals, seeking bids for document management and business consulting services.[1] In anticipation of submitting a proposal to Murphy USA, Windward and Reva entered into a “teaming agreement.”[2]The agreement reflected the parties desire to ‚Äúcombine their efforts to respond to [Murphy USA's request] and further to enter into an ...


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