Peaker Energy Group, LLC et al v. Cargill, Incorporated et al
ORDER and REASONS granting in part and denying in part 270 Motion for Summary Judgment on Peaker Energy Group, LLC's Claims, as stated within document. Signed by Chief Judge Kurt D. Engelhardt on 1/3/2017. (NEF: MAG-3) (cbs)
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
EASTERN DISTRICT OF LOUISIANA
PEAKER ENERGY GROUP, LLC &
ENERGY COAST LOGISTICS TERMINAL, LLC
CARGILL, INCORPORATED &
LOUISIANA SUGAR REFINING, LLC
SECTION "N" (3)
ORDER AND REASONS
Presently before the Court is "Defendants' Motion for Summary Judgment on Peaker
Energy Group, LLC's Claims" (Rec. Doc. 270). To the extent stated herein, IT IS ORDERED that
the motion is GRANTED IN PART and DENIED IN PART.
LAW AND ANALYSIS
I. Summary Judgment Standard
Pursuant to Rule 56(a) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, summary judgment
shall be granted "if the movant shows that there is no genuine dispute as to any material fact and
the movant is entitled to a judgment as a matter of law." Fed. R. Civ. P. 56(a). The materiality of
facts is determined by the substantive law's identification of which facts are critical and which facts
are irrelevant. Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 248, 106 S. Ct. 2505, 2510, 91 L.
Ed.2d 202 (1986). A fact is material if it "might affect the outcome of the suit under the governing
If the dispositive issue is one on which the nonmoving party will bear the burden of
proof at trial, the moving party may satisfy its summary judgment burden by merely pointing out
that the evidence in the record contains insufficient proof concerning an essential element of the
nonmoving party's claim. See Fed. R. Civ. P. 56(c); Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 325,
106 S. Ct. 2548, 2554, 91 L. Ed. 2d 265 (1986); see also Lavespere v. Liberty Mut. Ins. Co., 910
F.2d 167, 178 (5th Cir. 1990). Once the moving party carries its burden pursuant to Rule 56(a), the
nonmoving party must "go beyond the pleadings and by [his] own affidavits, or by the 'depositions,
answers to interrogatories, and admissions on file,' designate 'specific facts showing that there is a
genuine issue for trial.'" Celotex, 477 U.S. at 324, 106 S. Ct. 2553; see also Matsushita Elec. Indus.
Co., Ltd. v. Zenith Radio Corp., 475 U.S. 574, 587, 106 S. Ct. 1348, 1356, 89 L. Ed.2d 538 (1986);
Auguster v. Vermillion Parish School Bd., 249 F.3d 400, 402 (5th Cir. 2001).
When considering a motion for summary judgment, the Court views the evidence in
the light most favorable to the nonmoving party, Gillis v. Louisiana, 294 F.3d 755, 758 (5th Cir.
2002), and draws all reasonable inferences in favor of that party. Hunt v. Rapides Healthcare
System, L.L.C., 277 F.3d 757, 764 (2001). Factual controversies are to be resolved in favor of the
nonmoving party, "but only when there is an actual controversy, that is, when both parties have
submitted evidence of contradictory facts." Little v. Liquid Air Corp., 37 F.3d 1069, 1075 (5th
Cir.1994) (citations omitted). The Court will not, "in the absence of any proof, assume that the
nonmoving party could or would prove the necessary facts." See id. (emphasis in original) (citing
Lujan v. Nat'l Wildlife Fed'n, 497 U.S. 871, 888, 110 S. Ct. 3177, 3188, 111 L. Ed.2d 695 (1990)).
Although the Court is to consider the full record in ruling on a motion for summary
judgment, Rule 56 does not obligate it to search for evidence to support a party's opposition to
summary judgment. See Fed. R. Civ. P. 56(c)(3)("court need consider only the cited materials");
Malacara v. Garber, 353 F.3d 393, 405 (5th Cir. 2003)("When evidence exists in the summary
judgment record but the nonmovant fails even to refer to it in the response to the motion for
summary judgment, that evidence is not properly before the district court."). Thus, the nonmoving
party should "identify specific evidence in the record, and articulate" precisely how that evidence
supports his claims. Forsyth v. Barr, 19 F.3d 1527, 1537 (5th Cir.), cert. denied, 513 U.S. 871, 115
S. Ct. 195 (1994).
The nonmovant's burden of demonstrating a genuine issue is not satisfied merely by
creating "some metaphysical doubt as to the material facts," "by conclusory allegations," by
"unsubstantiated assertions," or "by only a scintilla of evidence." Little, 37 F.3d at 1075. Rather,
a factual dispute precludes a grant of summary judgment only if the evidence is sufficient to permit
a reasonable trier of fact to find for the nonmoving party. Smith v. Amedisys, 298 F.3d 434, 440 (5th
II. Application of Legal Principles
Having carefully considered the parties' competing submissions, the remainder of the
record in this matter, and applicable law, the Court finds Defendants to have met their Rule 56
burden relative to Peaker Energy Group, LLC's "damage to reputation" claim for essentially the
reasons stated in Defendant's memoranda (Rec. Doc. 270 and 368-1). The same is not true,
however, relative to Peaker's claim for out-of-pocket expenses. Further, whether such damages, if
any, should be awarded to Peaker, as opposed to Plaintiff Energy Coast Logistics Terminal, LLC,
can be determined at trial by the jury. Accordingly, the motion is granted in part and denied in part.
New Orleans, Louisiana, this 3rd day of January 2017.
KURT D. ENGELHARDT
United States District Judge
Clerk to Copy:
Magistrate Judge Knowles
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