Blaszkowski et al v. Mars Inc. et al
MOTION for Summary Judgment Against Plaintiff Susan Peters Pursuant to Rule 56 by Natura Pet Products, Inc.. Responses due by 11/7/2008 (Attachments: # 1 Statement of Material Facts in Support of Motion for Summary Judgment, # 2 Request for Judicial Notice, # 3 Declaration of Kristen E. Caverly, # 4 Declaration of Ronn Walthers, # 5 Declaration of Jonathan D. Brunk, # 6 Declaration of Shawn Salas)(Giel, Michael)
Blaszkowski et al v. Mars Inc. et al
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT SOUTHERN DISTRICT OF FLORIDA MIAMI DIVISION CASE NO. 07-21221-CIV-ALTONAGA/BROWN RENEE BLASZKOWSKI, et al., individually and on behalf of others similarly situated, Plaintiffs, vs. MARS, INCORPORATED, et al., Defendants. ___________________________________ NATURA PET PRODUCTS, INC.'S MOTION FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT AGAINST PLAINTIFF SUSAN PETERS PURSUANT TO RULE 56 Defendant Natura Pet Products, Inc. ("Natura") hereby moves for the Court to grant summary judgment in favor of Natura and against Plaintiff Susan Peters ("Plaintiff" or "Peters") pursuant to Federal Rules of Civil Procedure Rule ("Rule") 56 and Local Rule 7.5 on the following grounds: There are no material facts to be tried with respect to the claims pled by Peters against Natura. Undisputed evidence demonstrates that Plaintiff cannot prevail on her claims against Natura because she cannot carry her burden of production that she ever purchased or used products manufactured or distributed by Natura Pet Products, Inc. entitled to summary judgment against Susan Peters. Natura's motion is based on the following memorandum, the accompanying Declaration of Kristen E. Caverly dated October 20, 2008, Declaration of Ronn Walters dated October 20, 2008, Declaration of Jonathan Brunk dated September 26, 2008, Declaration of Shawn Salis dated September 22, 2008, and the Request for Judicial Notice, any reply papers which may be submitted, and any other argument or evidence which may be permitted by the Court. Accordingly, Natura is
MEMORANDUM OF LAW I. INTRODUCTION Plaintiff Susan Peters, whose legal name is really Susan Jones,1 has lied about purchasing and feeding her pets food manufactured or distributed by Natura Pet Products, Inc. Peters could never have purchased and fed her pets Natura products because the stores where she claims to have made her purchases have never sold any Natura products. Peters claims that she purchased Natura products must be disregarded as wholly uncredible in light of the unequivocal declarations from PETCO, PetSmart and Natura which are submitted with this motion. Without being able to create a genuine issue of material fact as to whether she purchased or was damaged by a product manufactured or distributed by Natura, Peters has no standing to pursue any of the claims she alleges. Natura is entitled to summary judgment against plaintiff Peters pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 56(c) ("Rule 56(c)"). II. FACTUAL BACKGROUND Peters filed a Fourth Amended Complaint (the "Complaint") on April 11, 2008 asserting claims against Natura for (i) fraudulent misrepresentation and concealment, (ii) negligent misrepresentation, (iii) violation of FDUTPA, (iv) negligence, (v) strict liability, (vi) injunctive relief, (ix) unjust enrichment. See Fourth Amended Complaint [D.E. 349]. Peters does not allege in the Complaint that she purchased or used products manufactured or distributed by Natura [Fourth Amended Complaint at 3, ¶ 5 [D.E. 349]], but she does in a filing on May 21, 2008 entitled Pet Food Products Purchased by Plaintiffs [D.E. 290-2 at 19] and in her interrogatory responses. On August 25, 2008, counsel for Defendant Natura deposed Peters. As she had already done in her interrogatory responses, Peters testified at deposition that she purchased several varieties of Natura products from only PetSmart and/or PETCO. (See Declaration of Kristen E. Caverly, Oct. 20, 2008, ex. A (Deposition of Susan Peters, Aug. 25, 2008, 55:15-23; 58:16-19;
Peters admits that her legal name is Susan Beth Jones. (Declaration of Kristen E. Caverly, Oct. 20, 2008, ex. A (Deposition of Susan Peters, Aug. 25, 2008, 11:1-13:8).) Plaintiff Susan Peters does not exist.
63:12-65:11; 74:10-74:16; 77:22-78:22; 80:25-81:4; 104:1-105:17; 112:14-113:9; 215:20216:20; 248:7-11) & ex. B (interrogatory response).) When asked why she had not included in the Fourth Amended Complaint an allegation that she purchased products manufactured or distributed by Natura during the class period, Peters responded that she believed she had an implied claim against Natura because she had alleged purchases at PETCO and PetSmart. (See Caverly Decl., ex. A (Peters Dep. 126:13-127:12).) Peters' testimony as to the location of her purchases was unequivocal. For example: Q A Q A Q A Which of the seven Natura products that you purchased did you buy from PetSmart? I don't know. Which of the seven products that you purchased did you buy from PetCo? I don't know. Other than PetSmart and PETCO, have you ever purchased a Natura manufactured or distributed product from any other store? I don't believe so.
(Caverly Decl., ex. A (Peters Dep. 64:16-25).) Similarly, Q A ... Q A ... Where did you go to purchase the products? We shopped at both PetSmart and PetCo and that would be in Independence.... After you purchased the California Natura[sic] supplements from PetSmart, when was the next time that you purchased a Natura product? It would have been on the cusp of 2006-2007....
Q When you ran out of all of the Natura products that you had purchased at the end of 2007 [sic], beginning of 2006 [sic], you never bought any more, correct? A That's right.
(Caverly Decl., ex. A (Peters Dep. 63:12-64:2; 74:10-13); see also Caverly Decl., ex. A (Peters Dep. 112:14-21 (discussing interrogatory responses).) Peters' sworn interrogatory responses and her deposition testimony that she purchased Natura products in 2006 and/or 2007 cannot possibly be true and must be disregarded. Peters could not possibly have purchased products manufactured or distributed by Natura at PETCO or PetSmart because neither retailer has ever sold those products at any of its stores nationwide. (See Declaration of Shawn Salis, Sept. 22, 2008 (PETCO does not sell Natura products); Declaration of Jonathan Brunk, Sept. 26, 2008 (PetSmart does not sell Natura products); Declaration of Ronn Walthers, Oct. 20, 2008 (neither PETCO nor PetSmart have sold Natura products in the last 5 years).) Since Peters' clearly never got Natura products from PETCO or PetSmart, she cannot credibly maintain that she ever fed Natura products to her pets. (See Caverly Decl., ex. A (Peters Dep. 74:10-16 (admittedly never fed any Natura products other than those allegedly purchased at PetSmart and PETCO).) III. LEGAL ARGUMENT Peters cannot prevail on any of the six causes of action alleged against Natura in the Complaint because she never purchased or fed Natura products to her pets. No reasonable jury could find in favor of Peters at trial. Accordingly, Natura's motion for summary judgment against Peters should be granted. A. Standard On Summary Judgment.
The Court may grant summary judgment "if the pleadings, depositions, answers to interrogatories, and admissions on file, together with the affidavits, if any, show that there is no
genuine issue as to any material fact and that the moving party is entitled to a judgment as a matter of law." Fed. R. Civ. P. 56(c). A genuine issue of material fact does not exist unless there is sufficient evidence favoring the nonmoving party for a reasonable jury to return a verdict in its favor. Haves v. City of Miami, 52 F. 3d 918, 921 (11th Cir. 1995) (citing Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 249-51 (1986)). "A mere `scintilla' of evidence supporting the opposing party's position will not suffice; there must be enough of a showing that the jury could reasonably find for that party." Walker v. Darby, 911 F.2d 1573, 1577 (11th Cir. 1990). Furthermore, where there has been "a complete failure of proof concerning an essential element of the nonmoving party's case," all other facts are rendered immaterial. Celotex v. Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 323 (1986). B. Plaintiff's Claims Require the Purchase or Use of Natura Products.
Plaintiff's claims for fraudulent misrepresentation and concealment, negligent misrepresentation, violation of the Florida Deceptive and Unfair Trade Practices Act (FDUTPA), negligence, strict liability, and unjust enrichment share one common predicate Peters must show that she purchased or used Natura products to her detriment. If Peters did not purchase or use Natura products, Peters has no damages and no standing to challenge Natura's advertising, allege negligence or product liability, or to seek disgorgement of profits or injunctive relief. See Rollins v. Butland, 951 So. 2d 860, 869 (Fla. 2d DCA 2006) (actual damage is element of FDUTPA claim); see also Specialty Beverages LLC v. Pabst Brewing Co., 537 F.3d 1165, 118081 (10th Cir. 2008) (reliance and damages are required elements of fraud and misrepresentation under Oklahoma law); Johnson v. Hillcrest Health Ctr., Inc., 70 P.3d 811, 816 (Okla. 2003) (injury to plaintiff is element of negligence claim); Teel v. Public Service Co. of Oklahoma, 767 P.2d 391, 398 (Okla. 1985) (unjust enrichment claim requires enrichment coupled with injustice); Marathon Battery Co. v. Kilpatrick, 418 P.2d 900, 914-15 (Okla. 1965) (strict liability for product defect requires injury to person).
CONCLUSION Peters cannot produce a scintilla of credible evidence to support her claims pled against
Natura. To the contrary, the evidence clearly shows that Peters could not have and never did use or purchase Natura products. The pleadings, court filings, discovery, and accompanying
declarations show that there is no genuine issue as to any material fact regarding Plaintiff's claims pled against Natura. Based upon the foregoing and pursuant to Rule 56(c), Natura requests that the Court grant summary judgment in favor of Natura on all claims brought by plaintiff Susan Peters, and grant Natura such other relief as this Court may deem fit and proper. McGUIREWOODS LLP By: s/Michael M. Giel Jeffrey S. York Florida Bar No. 0987069 Michael M. Giel Florida Bar No. 0017676 50 N. Laura Street, Suite 3300 Jacksonville, Florida 32202 (904) 798-2680 (904) 360-6330 (fax) firstname.lastname@example.org email@example.com
and HENDERSON & CAVERLY LLP Kristen E. Caverly Admitted Pro Hac Vice Robert C. Mardian III Admitted Pro Hac Vice Post Office Box 9144 Rancho Sante Fe, California 92067 (858) 756-6342 (858) 756-4732 (fax) firstname.lastname@example.org email@example.com ATTORNEYS AND TRIAL COUNSEL FOR DEFENDANT NATURA PET PRODUCTS, INC.
CERTIFICATE OF SERVICE I HEREBY CERTIFY that on October 21, 2008, I electronically filed the foregoing with the Clerk of the Court by using the CM/ECF system which will send a notice of electronic filing to the counsel so indicated on the attached Service List. s/Michael M. Giel Attorney
CERTIFICATE OF SERVICE RENEE BLASZKOWSKI, ET AL., VS. MARS, INCORPORATED, ET AL. Case No. 1:07-21221-CIV-ALTONAGA/TURNOFF SERVICE LIST
Catherine J. MacIvor, Esquire Jeffrey Eric Foreman, Esquire Jeffrey Bradford Maltzman, Esquire Darren W. Friedman, Esquire Bjorg Eikeland MALTZMAN FOREMAN PA One Biscayne Tower 2 South Biscayne Boulevard, Suite 2300 Miami, FL 33131-1803 Telephone: (305) 358-6555 Facsimile: (305) 374-9077 firstname.lastname@example.org email@example.com firstname.lastname@example.org email@example.com firstname.lastname@example.org Attorneys for Plaintiffs Patrick N. Keegan, Esquire Jason E. Baker, Esquire KEEGAN & BAKER, LLP 4370 La Jolla Village Drive, Suite 640 San Diego, CA 92122 Telephone: (858) 552-6750 Facsimile: (858) 552-6749 email@example.com firstname.lastname@example.org Attorneys for Plaintiffs
John B.T. Murray, Jr., Esquire SQUIRE, SANDERS & DEMPSEY L.L.P. 1900 Phillips Point West 777 South Flagler Drive West Palm Beach, Florida 33401-6198 Telephone: (561) 650-7200 Facsimile: (561) 655-1509 email@example.com Attorneys for Defendants PETCO Animal Supplies Stores, Inc., PetSmart, Inc., Wal-Mart Stores, Inc., Target Corporation and Meijer, Inc. Mark C. Goodman, Esquire SQUIRE, SANDERS & DEMPSEY L.L.P. One Maritime Plaza, Suite 300 San Francisco, CA 94111 Telephone: (415) 954-0200 firstname.lastname@example.org Attorneys for Defendants PETCO Animal Supplies Stores, Inc., PetSmart, Inc., Wal-Mart Stores, Inc., Target Corporation and Meijer, Inc. Rolando Andres Diaz, Esquire Peter S. Baumberger, Esquire KUBICKI DRAPER 25 W. Flagler Street Penthouse Miami, FL 33130-1712 Telephone: (305) 982-6708 Facsimile: (305) 374-7846 email@example.com firstname.lastname@example.org email@example.com Attorneys for Defendant Pet Supermarket, Inc.
Lonnie L. Simpson, Esquire S. Douglas Knox, Esquire DLA PIPER LLP 100 N. Tampa Street Suite 2200 Tampa, Florida 33602-5809 Lonnie.firstname.lastname@example.org Douglas.email@example.com Attorneys for Defendants Menu Foods, Inc. and Menu Foods Income Fund Alexander Shaknes, Esquire DLA PIPER LLP 1251 Avenue of the Americas New York, New York 10020-1104 Alex.Shaknes@dlapiper.com firstname.lastname@example.org Attorneys for Defendants Menu Foods, Inc. and Menu Foods Income Fund William C. Martin, Esquire DLA PIPER LLP 203 North LaSalle Street Suite 1900 Chicago, Illinois 60601-1293 William.Martin@dlapiper.com Attorneys for Defendants Menu Foods, Inc. and Menu Foods Income Fund Hugh J. Turner, Jr., Esquire AKERMAN SENTERFITT 350 E. Las Olas Boulevard Suite 1600 Fort Lauderdale, FL 33301-2229 Telephone: (954) 463-2700 Facsimile: (954) 463-2224 email@example.com Attorneys for Defendants Publix Super Markets, Inc and H.E. Butt Grocery Co.
Gary L. Justice, Esquire Gail E. Lees, Esquire Omar Ortega, Esquire DORTA AND ORTEGA, P.A. Douglas Entrance 800 S. Douglas Road, Suite 149 Coral Gables, Florida 33134 Telephone: (305) 461-5454 Facsimile: (305) 461-5226 firstname.lastname@example.org Attorneys for Defendant Mars, Incorporated, Mars Petcare U.S., and Nutro Products, Inc. Benjamine Reid, Esquire Olga M. Vieira, Esquire CARLTON FIELDS, P.A. 100 S.E. Second Street, Suite 4000 Bank of America Tower at International Place Miami, Florida 33131-9101 Telephone: (305) 530-0050 Facsimile: (305) 530-0055 email@example.com firstname.lastname@example.org Attorneys for Defendants Colgate-Palmolive Company and Hill's Pet Nutrition, Inc. John J. Kuster, Esquire James D. Arden, Esquire SIDLEY AUSTIN LLP 787 Seventh Avenue New York, NY 10019 Telephone: (212) 839-5300 Facsimile: (212) 839-5599 email@example.com firstname.lastname@example.org Attorneys for Defendants Colgate-Palmolive Company and Hill's Pet Nutrition, Inc. Kara L. McCall, Esquire SIDLEY AUSTIN LLP One South Dearborn Chicago, Illinois 60603 Telephone: (312) 853-2666 kmccall@Sidley.com Attorneys for Defendants Colgate-Palmolive Company and Hill's Pet Nutrition, Inc.
Marcos Daniel Jiménez, Esquire Robert J. Alwine II, Esquire KENNY NACHWALTER, P.A. 1100 Miami Center 201 South Biscayne Boulevard Miami, Florida 33131 Telephone: (305) 373-1000 Facsimile: (305) 372-1861 email@example.com firstname.lastname@example.org Attorneys for Defendants Safeway, Inc. and The Stop & Shop Supermarket Company LLC Sherril M. Colombo, Esquire COZEN O'CONNOR Wachovia Center, Suite 4410 200 South Biscayne Boulevard Miami, FL 33131 Telephone: (305) 704-5945 Facsimile: (305) 704-5955 email@example.com Attorneys for Defendant Del Monte Foods, Co. Richard Fama, Esquire John J. McDonough, Esquire COZEN O'CONNOR 45 Broadway New York, New York 10006 Telephone: (212) 509-9400 Facsimile: (212) 509-9492 firstname.lastname@example.org email@example.com Attorneys for Defendant Del Monte Foods John F. Mullen, Esquire COZEN O'CONNOR 1900 Market Street Philadelphia, PA 19103 Telephone: (215) 665-2179 Facsimile: (215) 665-2013 firstname.lastname@example.org Attorneys for Defendant Del Monte Foods, Co.
Carol A. Licko, Esquire HOGAN & HARTSON L.L.P. Mellon Financial Center 1111 Brickell Avenue, Suite 1900 Miami, FL 33131 Telephone: (305) 459-6500 Facsimile: (305) 459-6550 email@example.com Attorneys for Defendants Nestlé USA, Inc. and Nestlé Purina Petcare Co. Robert C. Troyer, Esquire HOGAN & HARTSON L.L.P. 1200 17th Street One Tabor Center, suite 1500 Denver, Colorado 80202 Telephone: (303) 899-7300 Facsimile: (303) 899-7333 firstname.lastname@example.org Attorneys for Defendants Nestlé USA, Inc. and Nestlé Purina Petcare Co. Craig A. Hoover, Esquire Miranda L. Berge, Esquire E. Desmond Hogan, Esquire HOGAN & HARTSON L.L.P. 555 13TH Street, NW Washington, D.C. 20004 Telephone: (202) 637-5600 Facsimile: (202) 637-5910 email@example.com firstname.lastname@example.org Attorneys for Defendants Nestlé USA, Inc. and Nestlé Purina Petcare Co. James K. Reuss, Esquire LANE ALTON & HORST, LLC Two Miranova Place Suite 500 Columbus, Ohio 43215 Telephone: (614) 233-4719 JReuss@lanealton.com Attorneys for Defendant The Kroger Co. of Ohio
Alan G. Greer, Esquire RICHMAN GREER, P.A. Miami Center Suite 1000 201 South Biscayne Boulevard Miami, FL 33131 Telephone: (305) 373-4000 Facsimile: (305) 373-4099 email@example.com Attorneys for Defendants Procter & Gamble Co. and The Iams Co. D. Jeffrey Ireland, Esquire Brian D. Wright, Esquire Laura A. Sanom, Esquire FARUKI IRELAND & COX P.L.L. 500 Courthouse Plaza, S.W. 10 North Ludlow Street Dayton, Ohio 45402 firstname.lastname@example.org Bwright@ficlaw.com email@example.com Attorneys for Defendant Procter & Gamble Co. and The Iams Co. Robin L. Hanger, Esquire SQUIRE, SANDERS & DEMPSEY L.L.P. 200 S. Biscayne Boulevard 40th Floor Miami, Florida 33131-2398 Telephone: (305) 577-7040 Facsimile: (305) 577-7001 firstname.lastname@example.org Attorneys for Defendants PETCO Animal Supplies Stores, Inc.
Ralph G. Patino, Esquire Dominick V. Tamarazzo, Esquire Carlos B. Salup, Esquire PATINO & ASSOCIATES, P.A. 225 Alcazar Avenue Coral Gables, Florida 33134 Telephone: (305) 443-6163 Facsimile: (305) 443-5635 email@example.com firstname.lastname@example.org email@example.com Attorneys for Defendants Pet Supplies "Plus" and Pet Supplies Plus/USA, Inc. Robert Valadez, Esquire Javier Thomas Duran, Esquire SHELTON & VALADEZ, P.C. 600 Navarro, Suite 500 San Antonio, Texas 78205 Telephone: (210) 349-0515 Facsimile: (210) 349-3666 firstname.lastname@example.org email@example.com Attorneys for Defendant H.E. Butt Grocery Co. Craig P. Kalil, Esquire Joshua D. Poyer, Esquire ABALLI, MILNE, KALIL & ESCAGEDO, P.A. 2250 Sun Trust International Center One Southeast Third Avenue Miami, Florida 33131 Telephone: (305) 373-6600 Facsimile: (305) 373-7929 firstname.lastname@example.org email@example.com Attorneys for Defendants New Albertson's Inc. and Albertson's LLC
W. Randolph Teslik, Esquire Andrew Dober, Esquire AKIN GUMPSTRAUSS HAUER & FELD LLP 1333 New Hampshire Avenue, NW Washington, D.C. 20036 Telephone: (202) 887-4000 Facsimile: (202) 887-4288 firstname.lastname@example.org email@example.com Attorneys for Defendants New Albertson's Inc. and Albertson's LLC C. Richard Fulmer, Jr., Esquire FULMER, LeROY, ALBEE, BAUMANN & GLASS, PLC 2866 East Oakland Park Boulevard Fort Lauderdale, Florida 33306 Telephone: (954) 707-4430 Facsimile: (954) 707-4431 rfulmer@Fulmer.LeRoy.com Attorneys for Defendant The Kroger Co. of Ohio Jason Joffe, Esquire SQUIRE SANDERS & DEMPSEY, LLP 200 South Biscayne Boulevard Suite 4000 Miami, Florida 33131 Telephone: (305) 577-7000 Facsimile: (305) 577-7001 firstname.lastname@example.org Attorneys for Defendant Meijer, Inc.
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