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Foss v. Marvic

United States District Court, D. Massachusetts

December 5, 2019

CYNTHIA FOSS, Plaintiff,
v.
MARVIC D/B/A BRADY-BUILT SUNROOMS, Defendant.

          ORDER AND MEMORANDUM ON DEFENDANT'S MOTION FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT AND PLAINTIFF'S MOTION FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT (DOCKET NO. 63 & 65)

          TIMOTHY S. HILLMAN DISTRICT JUDGE

         Cynthia Foss (“Plaintiff”) filed this action against Marvic (“Defendant”), alleging copyright infringement, tortious interference with advantageous business relations, conversion, unfair and deceptive business practices, breach of contract, and fraud and breach of fiduciary duty. (Docket No. 20). The Court dismissed Plaintiff's copyright infringement claim on March 19, 2019. (Docket No. 49). Defendant now moves for summary judgment on Plaintiff's remaining claims. Plaintiff moves for summary judgment on her copyright claim. Because Plaintiff has failed to establish a prima facie case of tortious interference with advantageous business relations, conversion, unfair and deceptive business practices, breach of contract, or fraud, the Court grants Defendant's motion. (Docket No. 65). Because this Court has already dismissed Plaintiff's copyright claim, the Court denies Plaintiff's motion. (Docket No. 63).

         Background

         Plaintiff performed graphic design work on a catalog for Defendant in October 2006. (Docket No. 20 at 2-3). The parties did not have a written contract, and Plaintiff did not inform Defendant at the time that she owned all rights to the work or that Defendant needed her permission to modify it. (Docket Nos. 51-1, 53). Defendant continued to print and use Plaintiff's work in subsequent years, and in 2011, Defendant modified it without Plaintiff's knowledge or consent. (Docket No. 20 at 3). Plaintiff became aware of the modification on August 12, 2016. (Docket No. 64 at 2). She sent a 93A demand letter asserting her rights on November 29, 2017. (Docket Nos.17-4 at 5, 64 at 2).

         Plaintiff filed a complaint with this Court on January 22, 2018.[1] (Docket No. 1). After a complicated litigation history, this Court dismissed Plaintiff's copyright infringement claim on March 19, 2019. (Docket No. 49). Only her tortious interference with advantageous business relations, conversion, unfair and deceptive business practices, breach of contract, and fraud and breach of fiduciary duty claims remain.

         On May 2, 2019, Defendant served Requests for Admission on Plaintiff. (Docket Nos. 51 at 1, 71-1 at 1). Plaintiff did not respond, and Defendant moved on July 8, 2019, to admit these admissions into the record. (Docket No. 51). The Court granted the motion as unopposed on August 13, 2019. (Docket No. 53). The Court denied Plaintiff's subsequent motion, filed over a month later, for reconsideration. (Docket Nos. 68, 74).

         The parties now move for summary judgment.[2] (Docket No. 63 & 65).

         Legal Standard

         Under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 56, a court “shall grant summary judgment if the movant shows that there is no genuine dispute as to any material fact and the movant is entitled to judgment as a matter of law.” An issue is “genuine” when a reasonable factfinder could resolve it in favor of the nonmoving party. Morris v. Gov't Dev. Bank of Puerto Rico, 27 F.3d 746, 748 (1st Cir. 1994). A fact is “material” when it may affect the outcome of the suit. Id.

         When ruling on a motion for summary judgment, “the court must view the facts in the light most favorable to the non-moving party, drawing all reasonable inferences in that party's favor.” Scanlon v. Dep't of Army, 277 F.3d 598, 600 (1st Cir. 2002) (citation omitted).

         Discussion

         1. Count I (Copyright Infringement)

         Plaintiff appears to move for summary judgment on her copyright infringement claim. (Docket No. 63). This Court, however, dismissed Plaintiff's copyright claim on March 19, 2019. (Docket No. 49). The Court therefore denies Plaintiff's motion as moot.

         2. Count II (Tortious Interference with Advantageous ...


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