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Selfhelpworks.Com, Inc v. 1021018 Alberta Ltd.

December 22, 2010

SELFHELPWORKS.COM, INC.,
A CALIFORNIA CORPORATION, PLAINTIFF,
v.
1021018 ALBERTA LTD., A CANADIAN LIMITTED LIABILITY COMPANY, DOING BUSINESS AS WU YI SOURCE, ET. AL.,
DEFENDANTS.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: John A. Houston United States District Judge

ORDER GRANTING IN PART AND DENYING IN PART iWORKS PARTIES' MOTION FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT AND RELATED CROSS-CLAIMS.[Doc. No. 66]

INTRODUCTION

Plaintiff Selfhelpworks.com ("Plaintiff" or "SHW"), a California corporation, originally filed an action on November 19, 2009, seeking declaratory relief and an order compelling arbitration against WuYi Source, Inc., a Canadian Corporation, and Does 1through 25, in the Superior Court of the State of California, County of San Diego. On January 14, 2010, Plaintiff filed a First Amended Complaint seeking an order compelling arbitration, declaratory relief and relief for breach of contract, constructive trust, unjust enrichment, and intentional interference with prospective business advantage and contract. Plaintiff named 1021018 Alberta Ltd, doing business as WuYi Source ("Alberta"), iWorks, Jeremy Johnson ("the iWorks Parties") and Does 1 through 25 as defendants. Plaintiff alleges it entered into a Marketing Agreement with Defendant Alberta for the up-sell of SHW's Living Lean program. Plaintiff further alleges Defendant Alberta breached the agreement by entering into a competing agreement with the iWorks Parties. Defendant Alberta removed the action to federal court on January 21, 2010.

On February 11, 2010, Defendant Alberta filed an answer to SHW's complaint and filed a cross-claim against Jeremy Johnson, doing business as iWorks and Roes 1 through 25, asserting claims for fraud in the inducement of contract, indemnity and contribution, breach of contract, breach of the covenant of good faith and fair dealing, breach of fiduciary duty, conversion, unjust enrichment and imposition of constructive trust, money had and received and for accounting.

On June 18, 2010, the iWorks Parties filed an answer to the First Amendment Complaint, an answer to Alberta's cross-claim and filed a cross-claim against Alberta. The iWorks Parties seek relief for breach of contract and breach of the covenant of good faith and fair dealing. The iWorks Parties filed a motion for change of venue on June 24, 2010 as to the cross-claims and Alberta filed a motion for leave to file a first amended cross-claim and third party complaint. The cross-claimants filed separate responses to the motions and replies in support of their respective motions. Both motions were set for hearing on August 23, 2010, but were taken under submission pursuant to Local Rule 7.1.*fn1 On September 28, 2010, the iWorks Parties filed a motion for summary judgment against Plaintiff SHW. SHW filed an opposition on October 15, 2010, and Movants filed a reply on October 25, 2010.

The parties appeared before this Court for hearing on the motion on November 8, 2010. Upon finding a genuine issue of material fact as to the interference claims, the Court denied the motion as to the interference claims and constructive claims on the record and reserved ruling on the unjust enrichment claims.

DISCUSSION

I. Legal Standard

Summary judgment is properly granted when "there is no genuine issue as to any material fact and ... the moving party is entitled to judgment as a matter of law." Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(c). Entry of summary judgment is appropriate "against a party who fails to make a showing sufficient to establish the existence of an element essential to that party's case, and on which that party will bear the burden of proof at trial." Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 322 (1986). The party moving for summary judgment bears the initial burden of establishing an absence of a genuine issue of material fact. Celotex, 477 U.S. at 323. Where the party moving for summary judgment does not bear the burden of proof at trial, as here, it may show that no genuine issue of material fact exists by demonstrating that "there is an absence of evidence to support the non-moving party's case." Id. at 325. The moving party is not required to produce evidence showing the absence of a genuine issue of material fact, nor is it required to offer evidence negating the moving party's claim. Lujan v. National Wildlife Fed'n, 497 U.S. 871, 885 (1990); United Steelworkers v. Phelps Dodge Corp., 865 F.2d 1539, 1542 (9th Cir. 1989). "Rather, the motion may, and should, be granted so long as whatever is before the District Court demonstrates that the standard for the entry of judgment, as set forth in Rule 56(c), is satisfied." Lujan, 497 U.S. at 885 (quoting Celotex , 477 U.S. at 323).

Once the moving party meets the requirements of Rule 56, the burden shifts to the party resisting the motion, who "must set forth specific facts showing that there is a genuine issue for trial." Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 256 (1986). Without specific facts to support the conclusion, a bald assertion of the "ultimate fact" is insufficient. See Schneider v. TRW, Inc., 938 F.2d 986, 990-91 (9th Cir. 1991). A material fact is one that is relevant to an element of a claim or defense and the existence of which might affect the outcome of the suit. The materiality of a fact is thus determined by the substantive law governing the claim or defense. Disputes over irrelevant or unnecessary facts will not preclude a grant of summary judgment. T.W. Electrical Service, Inc. v. Pacific Electrical Contractors Ass'n, 809 F.2d 626, 630 (9th Cir. 1987)(citing Anderson, 477 U.S. at 248).

When making this determination, the court must view all inferences drawn from the underlying facts in the light most favorable to the nonmoving party. See Matsushita, 475 U.S. at 587. "Credibility determinations, the weighing of evidence, and the drawing of legitimate inferences from the facts are jury functions, not those of a judge, [when] ... ruling on a motion for summary judgment." Anderson, 477 U.S. at 255.

II. Analysis

The iWorks Parties move for summary judgment as to SHW's ...


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