Star Financial Services, Inc. v. Cardtronics USA, Inc.
ORDER GRANTING 16 Motion for Summary Judgment. Signed by Judge Ivan L.R. Lemelle on 3/21/2017. (mmv)
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
EASTERN DISTRICT OF LOUISIANA
STAR FINANCIAL SERVICES, INC.
DBA ADVANCED ATM SERVICES
CARDTRONICS USA, INC.
ORDER AND REASONS
Before the court is “Defendant Cardtronics USA, Inc.’s
Motion for Summary Judgment” (Rec. Doc. 16), Plaintiff’s
“Memorandum in Opposition to Cardtronics’ Motion for Summary
Judgment” (Rec. Doc. 19) and “Defendant Cardtronics USA, Inc.’s
Reply to Star Financial Services, Inc.’s Memorandum in
Opposition to Cardtronics’ Motion for Summary Judgment” (Rec.
Doc. 27), IT IS ORDERED that Defendant’s Motion for Summary
Judgment is GRANTED.
FACTS AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY
The current controversy arose when Plaintiff Star Financial
Services filed a complaint against Defendant Cardtronics USA
Inc. (Rec. Doc. 1). The Plaintiff alleged that the Defendant
breached their contract when it failed to correct inaccurate
account information for two ATM machines which resulted in
$250,900 in funds to be erroneously credited to a third party
over a five month period (Rec. Doc. 1).
Plaintiff Star Financial Services, Inc. dba Advanced ATM
Services and Defendant ATM Deployer Services, LLC entered into a
contract (Rec. Docs. 16-2 and 19-11). Columbus Data Services is
the successor of ATM Deployer Services (Rec. Docs. 16-2 and 1911). Columbus Data Services subsequently merged with Cardtronics
(Rec. Docs. 16-2 and 19-11). Defendant Cardtronics can enforce
the terms of the Agent Agreement against Plaintiff because it is
a successor in interest to the Agent Agreement (Rec. Docs. 16-2
Plaintiff Star Financial provides automated teller machine
sales and processing services in Maryland, District of Columbia,
and Virginia (Rec. Doc. 19 at 2). Plaintiff relied on a third
party to process the electronic transfers initiated at its ATMs
(Rec. Doc. 19 at 2). Plaintiff entered into an agreement with
the Defendant whereby the Defendant would arrange to process the
financial transactions that occurred at the Plaintiff’s ATM
machines (Rec. Doc. 19 at 2).
FACTUAL AND LEGAL FINDINGS
Summary judgment is proper if the pleadings, depositions,
affidavits, show that there is no genuine issue as to any material
fact and that the moving party is entitled to judgment as a matter
Fed. R. Civ. P. 56; see also Celotex Corp. v. Catrett,
477 U.S. 317, 327 (1986).
A genuine issue exists if the evidence
Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 248
Although the Court must consider the evidence with all
reasonable inferences in the light most favorable to the nonmoving
party, the nonmovant must produce specific facts to demonstrate
that a genuine issue exists for trial.
Webb v. Cardiothoracic
Surgery Assocs. of N. Texas, 139 F.3d 532, 536 (5th Cir. 1998).
informing the district court of the basis for its motion. Celotex,
477 U.S. at 323. The movant must point to “portions of ‘the
pleadings, depositions, answers to interrogatories, and admissions
on file, together with affidavits’ which it believes demonstrate
the absence of a genuine issue of material fact.” Id. (citing Fed.
R. Civ. P. 56). If and when the movant carries this burden, the
nonmovant must then go beyond the pleadings and use affidavits,
evidence to establish a genuine issue.
Matsushita Elec. Indus.
Co. v. Zenith Radio Corp., 475 U.S. 574, 586 (1986).
“[W]here the non-movant bears the burden of proof at trial,
the movant may merely point to an absence of evidence, thus
shifting to the non-movant the burden of demonstrating by competent
summary judgment proof that there is an issue of material fact
warranting trial. . . . Only when ‘there is sufficient evidence
favoring the nonmoving party for a jury to return a verdict for
that party’ is a full trial on the merits warranted.” Lindsey v.
Sears Roebuck and Co., 16 F.3d 616, 618 (5th Cir. 1994) (citations
omitted). Accordingly, conclusory rebuttals of the pleadings are
insufficient to avoid summary judgment.
Travelers Ins. Co. v.
Liljeberg Enter., Inc., 7 F.3d 1203, 1207 (5th Cir. 1993).
A. Louisiana Contract Law
Under Louisiana law in order for the Plaintiff to successfully
obligor’s undertaking an obligation to perform, (2) the obligor
failed to perform the obligation (the breach), and (3) the failure
to perform resulted in damages to the obligee.” Favrot v. Favrot,
68 So. 3d 1099, 1108-1109 (La.App. 4 Cir. 2011). Defendant alleges
that Plaintiff cannot satisfy the first element of a breach of
contract claim because it did not contractually undertake any of
the obligations that the Plaintiff alleges the Defendant failed to
perform. The Plaintiff argues that the Defendant was obligated to
correct any inaccurate information regarding the ATM terminals.
The Plaintiff contends that because the Defendant did not
correct the inaccurate information, the Defendant is in breach of
their contract. The Defendant disagrees and references section 4.2
settlements shall be effected through automated clearing house
transfers. It is the responsibility of the agent to verify that
authorization, or any modification is correct and complete. ADS
has no responsibility to verify any such information” (Rec. Doc.
1-1) (emphasis provided).
The language of the contract is clear in that it states that
the Agent, the plaintiff, and not the Defendant has the obligation
to ensure that the terminal information is correct. Under Louisiana
contract law, “When the words of a contract are clear and explicit
and lead to not absurd consequences, no further interpretation may
be made in search of the parties’ intent.” La Civ. Code. Art. 2046.
The provisions of the Agent Agreement are clear and do not require
any further interpretation regarding the parties intent.
The Plaintiff’s arguments stating that this provision should
not apply given the Defendant’s alleged failure to properly set up
the terminals is not compelling. The plain language of the contract
inappropriate for this Court to introduce them. A party cannot be
held liable for breaching a contract on the basis of actions that
it was actually never contractually obligated to perform. Faulk v.
Shell Pipeline Co., LP, Case No. 6:16-0244, 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS
allegation of fraud in connection with the contract or execution
New Orleans, Louisiana, this 21st of March, 2017.
SENIOR UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
Legal issues related to the propriety of damages need not be
discussed given this Court’s summary judgment ruling in favor of
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