United States District Court, D. Massachusetts
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER ON DEFENDANT, FUTURE MOTION,
INC.'S MOTION FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT (#83).
Page Kelley, United States Magistrate Judge.
Reutov, proceeding pro se, filed a complaint against Future
Motion, Inc., on March 8, 2019, alleging that he was injured
in June 2018 while riding a battery-operated skateboard
manufactured by defendant. (#1; #44-1 at 2-3.) Plaintiff
filed an amended complaint on June 21, 2019, alleging claims
for breach of implied warranty of merchantability,
negligence, negligent infliction of emotional distress,
breach of express warranty, breach of warranty of fitness for
a particular purpose, strict products liability, and
misrepresentation. (#44; #44-1 at 1, 3-6.) He sought over $10
million in damages. Id. at 7-8. On October 4, 2018,
after his accident, but before he filed his claim here,
plaintiff filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy. (#84-1 at 7-13.)
His debts were discharged and his bankruptcy case was closed
on February 1, 2019, one month before he filed suit in this
matter. (#1; #84 at 1.)
October 16, 2019, defendant filed a motion for summary
judgment based on the doctrine of judicial estoppel, as
plaintiff did not disclose his potential lawsuit when he
filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy or at any time during the
proceedings. (#84 at 1.) Plaintiff filed multiple oppositions,
each addressing discrete points. (##86-91.)
purposes of summary judgment, the facts are presented in the
light most favorable to plaintiff as the non-moving party.
Caraballo-Caraballo v. Corr. Admin., 892 F.3d 53, 56
(1st Cir. 2018) (citation omitted). The facts below are
undisputed unless otherwise indicated.
April or May of 2018, plaintiff purchased a “OneWheel,
” a battery-operated skateboard, manufactured by
defendant. (#44-1 at 2; #87-4 at 9.) Plaintiff alleges that
on June 18, 2018, he was riding his board on a bike path when
it unexpectedly shut off, throwing him into the air. (#44-1
at 2-3.) Plaintiff landed on his head and shoulder, causing a
concussion and shoulder injuries, and requiring a visit to
the emergency room. Id. at 3. Plaintiff maintains
that he suffers from constant back and neck pain, memory
issues, and headaches as a result of the incident.
Id. at 6.
emailed defendant's customer support team the day after
the incident, informing them about what had occurred. (#87-1
at 1.) Several months later, on September 29, 2018, plaintiff
emailed defendant's customer support team again, stating
that he had “an issue” with the board.
Id. at 4. On October 7, 2018, after conducting
various tests at defendant's instruction, plaintiff sent
the board back to defendant, so defendant could determine
what was wrong with the board, and repair it, if necessary.
Id. at 6-7. From October 7, 2018 through November 7,
2018, plaintiff and a member of defendant's customer
support team corresponded regularly via email regarding the
board's status. Id. at 6-15. In an October
30th email, plaintiff referenced the subject accident, noting
that “the board shut off . . . when [he] was riding it
and sent [him] to an emergency room[.]” Id. at
the same time plaintiff was corresponding with
defendant's customer support team, he was involved in
bankruptcy proceedings in this district. On October 4, 2018,
plaintiff filed for voluntary Chapter 7 bankruptcy. (#84-1 at
7-54.) As part of the bankruptcy proceedings, plaintiff was
required to complete and sign a schedule, summarizing all his
assets and liabilities. Id. at 14- 21. Under part
four of the schedule, “Financial Assets, ”
plaintiff was instructed to “[d]escribe” any
claim he had “against third parties, whether or not [he
had] filed a lawsuit or made a demand for payment.”
Id. at 17, 20 ¶ 33. The schedule described
“[a]ccidents, employment disputes, insurance
claims, [and] rights to sue” as specific examples of
claims that should be listed. Id. at 20 ¶ 33
(emphasis added). Despite his accident and ongoing
correspondence with defendant's customer support team,
plaintiff failed to reference the accident in his schedule.
Id. The bankruptcy court entered a discharge order
on January 15, 2019, and plaintiff's bankruptcy case was
closed on February 1, 2019. Id. at 56-61. He filed
his complaint in this court about one month later. (#1.)
reasons set out below, because plaintiff failed to disclose
his potential claim against Future Motion, Inc. in his
bankruptcy proceedings, defendant's motion for summary
judgment (#83) is granted.
Standard of Review.
judgment will be granted “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.”
Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(a). To prevail on a motion for summary
judgment, the moving party bears the initial burden of
averring the absence of a genuine issue of material fact and
“support[ing] that assertion by affidavits, admissions,
or other materials of evidentiary quality.”
Mulvihill v. Top-Flite Golf Co., 335 F.3d 15, 19
(1st Cir. 2003) (citations omitted). Once the moving party
asserts the absence of a genuine issue of material fact, the
nonmovant must demonstrate the existence of a factual dispute
with requisite sufficiency to proceed to trial.
Fontánez-Núñez v. Janssen Ortho
LLC, 447 F.3d 50, 54-55 (1st Cir. 2006).
“[I]mprobable inferences, conclusory allegations, or
rank speculation” cannot alone defeat summary judgment.
Ingram v. Brink's, Inc., 414 F.3d 222, 229 (1st
determining whether summary judgment is proper, courts view
the record in the light most favorable to the nonmoving
party, and all reasonable inferences must be drawn in the
nonmovant's favor. Caraballo-Caraballo, 892 F.3d
at 56 (citations omitted). Upon a party's motion, Rule 56
requires the entry of summary judgment when the non-moving
party fails to establish the existence of any one essential
element on which he will bear the final burden of proof.
Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 322 (1986).
“Where the record taken as a whole could not lead a
rational trier of fact to find ...