Service with Class Corp. v. Hawker Beechcraft Global Customer Support, LLC.
ORDER denying 46 Motion for summary judgment. The parties must file all motions in limine by February 16, 2018. Signed by Judge Susan C Bucklew on 2/7/2018. (JD)
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
MIDDLE DISTRICT OF FLORIDA
OIL CONSULTING ENTERPRISE, INC.,
Case No. 8:16-cv-3453-T-24-AEP
HAWKER BEECHCRAFT GLOBAL
CUSTOMER SUPPORT, LLC
d/b/a Hawker Beechcraft Services,
n/k/a Textron Aviation, Inc.,
This cause comes before the Court on Defendant’s Motion for Summary Judgment.
(Doc. No. 46). Plaintiff opposes the motion. (Doc. No. 54). The Court held a hearing on this
motion on February 7, 2018. As explained below, the motion is denied.
In December of 2014, Plaintiff Oil Consulting Enterprise, Inc. contracted with Defendant
Hawker Beechcraft Global Customer Support, LLC to perform a Phase I–IV pre-purchase
inspection on King Air 350 aircraft at Defendant’s Tampa facility (“First Inspection”). (Doc.
No. 46-2). The proposal for the services to be provided during the First Inspection show that
Defendant agreed to perform certain inspections, to perform airframe maintenance, and to paint
the aircraft. (Doc. No. 46-2). The estimated cost of the inspections was $16,0201, with the total
estimated cost for all services being $103,048. (Doc. No. 46-2). Plaintiff ultimately paid
It appears that two proposals were provided, one with inspections costing $12,530 (Doc.
No. 46-2, p. 23) and one with inspections costing $3,490 (Doc. No. 46-2, p. 25).
Defendant $178,837.47 for the First Inspection and related repairs.2 (Doc. No. 46-3). During the
First Inspection, no major corrosion damage was discovered.
Thereafter, in May of 2015, Plaintiff sold the aircraft to non-party Cedarcroft
Commercial Corp. (“Cedarcroft”). (Doc. No. 46-1). At the end of 2015, Cedarcroft entered into
an agreement to sell the aircraft to non-party RACI Management, LLC. (Doc. No. 46-6). The
purchase agreement was contingent on a pre-purchase inspection. (Doc. No. 46-6).
On January 7, 2016, the aircraft was taken to the Cessna Service Center (“Cessna”) in
San Antonio, Texas for a pre-purchase inspection (“Second Inspection”). During the Second
Inspection, significant corrosion was detected, and a Cessna report dated May 18, 2016 noted
that some of the corrosion was accompanied by blue residue, which the report identified as being
Blue Lagoon toilet fluid. (Doc. No. 46-8).
Plaintiff contends that the extensive corrosion that was discovered during the Second
Inspection must have existed during the First Inspection. As a result, on November 23, 2016,
Plaintiff filed suit against Defendant in state court, and Defendant later removed the case to this
In its amended complaint, Plaintiff alleges that Defendant breached their contract to
conduct the First Inspection and that Defendant negligently performed the First Inspection by
failing to discover the extensive corrosion on the aircraft. (Doc. No. 18). In its amended
complaint and in its answers to interrogatories, Plaintiff identified its damages as consisting of
over $953,000 as follows: (1) the repair bill for the corrosion discovered during the Second
One of the charges was for a “C/W 200 HOUR CONTINUOUS CORROSION
CONTROL INSPECTION,” which cost Plaintiff only $198. (Doc. No. 46-3, p. 4–5).
Inspection; (2) the loss of use of the aircraft during the seven months that the aircraft was
undergoing the Second Inspection and related repairs; (3) the interest paid by Cedarcroft on its
loan to pay for the aircraft; and (4) the amount that Cedarcroft had to reduce the sales price for
RACI Management, LLC’s purchase of the aircraft due to the discovery of the corrosion.
II. Defendant’s Motion for Summary Judgment
Defendant moves for summary judgment, arguing that Plaintiff’s breach of contract claim
fails because: (1) the damages it identifies were not suffered by Plaintiff, and (2) Plaintiff’s
expert testimony does not show that the corrosion found at the Second Inspection existed during
the First Inspection. At the hearing on the motion for summary judgment, the Court also
addressed the parties’ motions attacking each other’s expert opinions. The Court’s ruling on
those motions will be issued in a separate order at a later date, but the Court rejects Defendant’s
arguments that Plaintiff has no evidence that any of the corrosion found at the Second Inspection
existed during the First Inspection.
Turning to Defendant’s damages argument, it appears that Plaintiff concedes that the
damages that it was previously seeking are not available, because those damages were not
suffered by Plaintiff. Instead, Plaintiff now argues that it was damaged to the extent that it paid
for a Phase I–IV inspection in Tampa, but it did not receive all that it paid for to the extent that
Defendant did not discover the extensive corrosion that was discovered during the Second
The Court agrees with Plaintiff that if it can prove that some of the corrosion found at the
Second Inspection existed during the First Inspection, that would be sufficient proof that Plaintiff
was damaged by paying for an inspection and not receiving the full value of an inspection done
completely and correctly. At the hearing, Plaintiff conceded that its damages cannot exceed the
$178,837.47 it paid Defendant for the First Inspection and related repairs.
However, at trial, Plaintiff will have to prove the amount of its damages to a reasonable
certainty. Mobilpref, SpA. v. Coastal Construction of South Florida, Inc., 2017 WL 783514, at
*23 (S.D. Fla. 2017)(citations omitted). The measure of Plaintiff’s damages is the difference in
value between: (a) the value of a Phase I–IV inspection and repairs done correctly and
completely, and (b) the value of the Phase I–IV inspection and repairs that Plaintiff received.
This means that Plaintiff will have to provide evidence of the amount of the diminished value of
the Phase I–IV inspection and repairs that it received.
Plaintiff’s experts have not proffered any opinions regarding the diminished value of the
First Inspection as completed by Defendant, and as such, it appears that Plaintiff will be leaving
the valuation determination to the jury. Since the amount of damages must be proven to a
reasonable certainty, it appears that the jury will have to rely on the invoice for the First
Inspection and simply total the amounts for worked charged that Plaintiff proves was not done
correctly or completely. While the Court is not capping damages below the $178,837.47
invoiced amount (which Defendant has invited the Court to do), it appears to this Court that
without expert valuation testimony, it will be hard for the jury to award more than the cost of the
entire Phase I–IV inspection and corrosion-related repairs, which did not greatly exceed
It is unlikely that the jury will award that entire cost of the Phase I–IV inspection plus
the cost of corrosion-related repairs, given that Plaintiff is not challenging the entire Phase I–IV
Accordingly, it is ORDERED AN ADJUDGED that:
Defendant’s Motion for Summary Judgment (Doc. No. 46) is DENIED.
The parties must file all pretrial motions, including all motions in limine, by
February 16, 2018. Each party may file one motion in limine containing all of
their arguments in a single document not to exceed 25 pages. Responses thereto
must be filed by March 2, 2018.
The parties’ joint pretrial statement must be filed by March 1, 2018.
DONE AND ORDERED at Tampa, Florida, this 7th day of February, 2018.
Counsel of Record
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