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Gentry Technology of S.C. Inc. v. Baptist Health South Florida Inc.

United States District Court, D. South Carolina, Aiken Division

January 19, 2017

Gentry Technology of S.C., Inc., Plaintiff,
v.
Baptist Health South Florida, Inc., Defendant.

          ORDER AND OPINION

         Plaintiff Gentry Technology of S.C., Inc. (“Gentry”), filed the instant action against Defendant Baptist Health South Florida, Inc. (“Baptist”), seeking to recover monetary damages for allegedly unreimbursed communications engineering services. (ECF No. 5.)

         This matter is before the court on Gentry's Motion to Reconsider, Alter, or Amend Order and Judgment (“Motion for Reconsideration”) pursuant to Rules 52 and 59 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. (ECF No. 74.) Specifically, Gentry seeks reconsideration of the Order entered on February 3, 2016 (the “February Order”), in which the court granted Baptist's Motion for Summary Judgment (ECF No. 46) as to Gentry's claims for unjust enrichment and civil conspiracy and denied Gentry's Motion to Compel (ECF No. 48) 0063. (ECF No. 70 at 12.) Baptist opposes Gentry's Motion for Reconsideration asserting that the court's February Order is “entirely in accord with applicable law and the indisputable factual record.” (ECF No. 77 at 1.)

         For the reasons set forth below, the court DENIES Gentry's Motion for Reconsideration.

         I. JURISDICTION

         The court has jurisdiction over this matter pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1332(a) because the action is between citizens of different states and the amount in controversy is in excess of $75, 000.00. (See ECF No. 5 at 1 ¶¶ 1-4.) More specifically, Gentry is a South Carolina corporation with its principal place of business in South Carolina (ECF No. 5 at 1 ¶ 1); Baptist is a Florida non-profit corporation with its principal place of business in Miami-Dade County, Florida (id. ¶ 2; see also ECF No. 22 at 1 ¶ 2); and the court is satisfied that the amount in controversy exceeds $75, 000.00 (ECF No. 5 at 3-9).

         II. RELEVANT BACKGROUND TO PENDING MOTIONS

         Gentry is a South Carolina corporation that provides communications engineering services. (ECF No. 46-5 at 9:21-10:14.) Robert Taylor (“Taylor”) is Gentry's President, its sole beneficial owner, and its only employee. (Id. at 8:11-17 & 10:15-19.) Baptist “is a Florida not-for-profit healthcare corporation with its principal place of business in Miami-Dade County, Florida.” (ECF No. 46-6 at 2 ¶ 2.)

         On April 1, 2007, the parties entered into a contract[1] whereby Gentry agreed to provide a digital satellite distribution system (“DSDS”) to Baptist at certain facilities in Miami, Florida. (ECF No. 5 at 2 ¶ 8; ECF No. 46-5 at 65-75.) The alleged purpose of the DSDS was to allow Baptist to acquire, receive, and distribute programming services at its hospital facilities. (Id.) The parties' agreement obligated Gentry to perform “any and all services, required to design, install, implement, maintain, upgrade, and repair the [DSDS] system.” (ECF No. 46-5 at 20:2-6 & 66 ¶ 5.) The equipment for the DSDS was referred to as “headends.” (Id. at 25:3-11.) Gentry installed 6 headends at Baptist's facilities. (Id. at 22:4-10.)

         The agreement of the parties was for a 3-year term, effective retroactively as of October 1, 2006, and allowed for renewal for 3 successive 3-year terms unless one of the parties provided written notice of termination 90 days prior to the expiration of each term. (ECF No. 5 at 2 ¶ 10.) The contract was automatically renewed on October 1, 2009. (Id. at ¶ 12.) Gentry contends that Baptist materially breached the contract subsequent to its renewal. (Id. at 3 ¶ 20-4 ¶ 23.)

         Gentry commenced the instant action on June 2, 2014, alleging breach of contract (Count 1) and unjust enrichment (Count 2). (ECF No. 1 at 2-5.) Gentry filed a First Amended Complaint on June 4, 2014, which filing was permitted by Fed.R.Civ.P. 15(a)(1)(A). (ECF No. 5.) In the First Amended Complaint, Gentry alleged claims for breach of contract (Count 1); unjust enrichment, conversion, theft of services, and fraudulent concealment (Count 2); and civil conspiracy (Count 3). (Id. at 2-8.) On March 17, 2015, the court entered an Order that granted in part Baptist's Motion to Dismiss (ECF No. 7), denied Baptist's initial Motion for Summary Judgment (id.), and dismissed Gentry's claims for breach of contract, conversion, theft of services, and fraudulent concealment. (See ECF No. 21 at 24.) As a result, the parties proceeded to discovery on Gentry's remaining claims for unjust enrichment and civil conspiracy.

         Thereafter, Baptist filed its Renewed Motion for Summary Judgment (ECF No. 46) on September 28, 2015. Gentry filed a Response in Opposition to Baptist's Renewed Motion for Summary Judgment (ECF No. 54) on October 19, 2015, to which Baptist filed a Reply in Support of Its Renewed Motion for Summary Judgment (ECF No. 62) on November 2, 2015. After the court entered the February Order, Gentry moved for reconsideration on March 1, 2016. (ECF No. 74.)

         III. LEGAL STANDARD AND ANALYSIS

         In the February Order, the court made the following observations in granting Defendant's Motion for Summary Judgment (ECF No. 46):

Upon review, the court observes that Gentry verified the validity of its contract with Baptist in its unjust enrichment evidentiary presentation. For example, Taylor expressly states that the contract required Baptist to pay Gentry for the DSDS at West Kendall. (See ECF No. 54-1 at 2 ΒΆ 6.) In consideration of the foregoing, the court finds that there is consensus in the record that the parties' contractual agreement governs the subject of their dispute. Therefore, because Gentry and Baptist were governed by an express contract covering the same subject matter as the unjust enrichment claim ...

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