The opinion of the court was delivered by: Garland E. Burrell, Jr. United States District Judge
ORDER STAYING ACTION AGAINST DEFENDANTS LESTER FOX AND FIDEL MARTINEZ, JR.; GRANTING PLAINTIFF'S MOTION FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT AGAINST DEFENDANT NORTH STATE PROPERTIES, LLC AND ISSUING PERMANENT INJUNCTION AGAINST NORTH STATE PROPERTIES LLC
Plaintiff seeks summary judgment on its claims against each Defendant. (ECF No. 18.) No party filed a response to the motion.
However, after the motion was filed, Defendant Lester Fox filed a "Notice of Bankruptcy" in which he invoked the automatic stay prescribed in 11 U.S.C. § 362 of the United States Bankruptcy Code. An order then issued directing each non-bankrupt party to file a brief on whether the stay affects further proceedings involving any non-bankrupt party.
The non-bankrupt Defendants did not respond to the order. Plaintiff responded that "absent a separate petition for bankruptcy filed by [the non-debtor] co-defendants, it is clear that the automatic stay has no applicability to the non-debtor co-defendants." (Pl.'s Brief Re: Bankruptcy Stay 2:25-27.) Subsequently, Plaintiff notified the Court that Defendant Fidel Martinez, Jr. also filed a bankruptcy petition.
Therefore, the portion of Plaintiff's action against Defendants Lester Fox and Fidel Martinez Jr. is stayed, and the motion involves only Defendant North State Properties, LLC ("North State").
A party seeking summary judgment bears the initial burden of demonstrating the absence of a genuine issue of material fact for trial. Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 323 (1986). If the movant satisfies its initial burden, "the non-moving party must set forth, by affidavit or as otherwise provided in [Federal] Rule [of Civil Procedure] 56, specific facts showing that there is a genuine issue for trial." T.W. Elec. Serv., Inc. v. Pacific Elec. Contractors Ass'n, 809 F.2d 626, 630 (9th Cir. 1987) (citation and internal quotation marks omitted). Further, Local Rule 260(b) requires:
Any party opposing a motion for summary judgment or summary adjudication [must] reproduce the itemized facts in the [moving party's] Statement of Undisputed Facts and admit those facts that are undisputed and deny those that are disputed, including with each denial a citation to the particular portions of any pleading, affidavit, deposition, interrogatory answer, admission, or other document relied upon in support of that denial.
If the non-movant does not "specifically . . . [controvert duly supported] facts identified in the [movant's] statement of undisputed facts," the non-movant "is deemed to have admitted the validity of the facts contained in the [movant's] statement." Beard v. Banks, 548 U.S. 521, 527 (2006).
A. Breach of Contract Claim
Plaintiff seeks summary judgment on its breach of contract claims. Specifically, Plaintiff argues that the undisputed facts establish that North State breached two franchise agreements (hereafter "Franchise Agreements" or "Agreements"), entitling Plaintiff to "damages . . . which include unpaid Franchise Fees, and liquidated damages based on the early termination of the Franchise Agreements." (Mot. 8:5-7.)
Plaintiff also argues New Jersey law applies to its breach of contract claims since the Franchise Agreements contain a choice of law provision prescribing that the Agreements "will be governed by the laws of the state of New Jersey[.]" (Mot. 7:2.) "Under New Jersey law, the following elements are necessary in a breach of contract claim: (1) a contract; (2) a breach of that contract; (3) damages flowing therefrom; and (4) plaintiff performed its own contractual duties." Nat'l Reprographics, Inc. v. Strom, 621 F. Supp. 2d 204, 222 (D.N.J. 2009).
Plaintiff submits the following undisputed facts in support of its breach of contract claim, which North State is deemed to have admitted since no response was filed: the parties entered into two Franchise Agreements (Statement of Undisputed Facts in Supp. of Pl.'s Mot. for Summ. J., "SUF," Nos. 11-12); Plaintiff performed its contractual duties by providing North State non-exclusive licenses to use the CENTURY 21® Marks and System (SUF Nos. 8, 15); North State failed to pay Plaintiff the fees required under the Agreements, causing Plaintiff to invoke the "for cause" early termination provision of the Agreements (SUF Nos. 20-24); and, Plaintiff suffered $60,758.26 in unpaid franchise fees damages and $179,280.92 in liquidated damages for the early termination of the franchises, for a total of $240,039.18 in damages (SUF Nos. 25-28).
Plaintiff has shown that it prevails on this portion of its motion; therefore, Plaintiff's motion for summary judgment on its breach of contract ...