Chiarelli v. Nissan North America, Inc. et al
MEMORANDUM & ORDER, Because Defendant failed to file the required Rule 56.1 Statement, Defendant's Motion (Dkt. 40) is DENIED WITHOUT PREJUDICE. Should Defendant decide to re-file its Motion with a Rule 56.1 Statement, it must first obtain a c ertification from Magistrate Judge Peggy Kuo that fact discovery is complete. The court expects that any renewed motion filed by Defendant will comply with the Local Rules and the court's Individual Rules, including the page limits prescribed therein. The Clerk of Court is respectfully DIRECTED to amend the case caption to reflect the fact that Todd Maszon and Chris Santimauro have been removed as putative classrepresentatives in this action. So Ordered by Judge Nicholas G. Garaufis on 7/7/2017. (Lee, Tiffeny)
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
EASTERN DISTRICT OF NEW YORK
VINCENT CHIARELLI,PHILIP DRAGONETTI,
MICHELE MASZON,TODD MASZON,CHRIS
SANTMAURO,LISA SUROWEIC,and JOHN
MEMORANDUM & ORDER
COMPTON,individually, and on behalfof others
-againstNISSAN NORTH AMERICA,INC.,
NICHOLAS G. GARAUFIS,United States District Judge.
Plaintiffs Vincent Chiarelli, Philip Dragonetti, Michele Maszon, Lisa Suroweic, and John
Compton bring this putative class action against Defendant Nissan North America, Inc.
fTSlissan").^ fSee Am. Compl.(Dkt. 5).) Plaintiffs allege that Nissan installed a defective timing
chain system in various models ofNissan vehicles, causing Plaintiffs to pay for repairs after the
expiration oftheir otherwise applicable Nissan warranties. Plaintiffs assert causes of action
under the consumer protection laws ofNew York, Florida, and Maryland, as well as breach of
contract claims pursuant to New York, Florida, Maryland, and New Jersey law.^ Defendant has
moved for partial summary judgment,requesting that the court dismiss all but one ofPlaintiffs'
claims. (Mot. for Partial Summ. J.("Mot.")(Dkt. 40).) The court hereby DENIES Nissan's
Motion WITHOUT PREJUDICE because it is procedurally defective.
'Since the filing ofthe Amended Complaint, Lisa Suroweic and John Compton have been added as plaintiffs and
Todd Maszon and Chris Santimauro have been removed as putative class representatives m this action. (See Stip.
(Dkt. 36)^ 4.) In addition, Defendant Nissan Motor Co., Ltd. has been terminated from this action. (See Stip.
^ In its September 25, 2015, Memorandum and Order, the court dismissed Plaintiffs' state-law causes of action for
breach of express warranty, breach ofimplied warranty of merchantability, and unjust enrichment; and the federal
cause of action under the Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act, 15 U.S.C, §§ 2301 et seq. (Mem.& Order(Dkt. 21).)
Defendant failed to submit a statement of undisputed material facts(a "Rule 56.1
Statement") with its Motion, in clear violation of this court's Local Rules.^ Local Civil Rule
56.1 states that
[u]pon any motion for summary judgment pursuant to Rule 56 of
the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, there shall be annexed to the
notice of motion a separate, short and concise statement, in
numbered paragraphs, of the material facts as to which the moving
party contends there is no genuine issue to be tried. Failure to
submit such a statement mav constitute grounds for denial of the
(emphases added); cf T.Y. v. N.Y.C. Dep't ofEduc.. 584 F.3d 412,417(2d Cir. 2009)(noting
that Local Civil Rule 56.1 imposes a "strict" requirement).
"Local Rule 56.1 is designed to place the responsibility on the parties to clarify the
elements of the substantive law which remain at issue because they turn on contested facts."
Monahan v. N.Y.C. Dep't of Corrs.. 214 F.3d 275, 292(2d Cir. 2000). It is not the court's
responsibility to "hunt through voluminous records without guidance from the parties." Holtz v.
Rockefeller & Co.. Inc., 258 F.3d 62,74(2d Cir. 2001). The movant's submission of a Rule
56.1 Statement is meant"to streamline the [court's] consideration ofsummary judgment
motions." Id, As such,"[wjhile the trial court has discretion to conduct an assiduous review of
the record in an effort to weigh the propriety of granting a summary judgment motion, it is not
required to consider what the parties fail to point out." Monahan,214 F.3d at 292.
Without a Rule 56.1 Statement from Defendant(and a response from Plaintiffs), the court
cannot adequately assess whether there exist any genuine issues of material fact, which would
' its opposition to Defendant's Motion, Plaintiffs notified Defendant that it had failed to submit the required
Rule 56.1 Statement with its Motion. (Pis.' Mem.in Opp'n to Mot.("Pis. Opp'n")(Dkt. 47)at 7.) Defendant had
an opportunity to remedy this error by submitting a Rule 56.1 Statement with its reply papers, but chose not to.
Moreover, Defendant chose not to respond to the Rule 56.1 Statement submitted by Plaintiffs. (See Pis. R. 56.1
preclude entry ofsummary judgment in favor of Defendant. Accordingly, Defendant's Motion is
denied without prejudice. See, e.g.. Barklev v. Olvmpia Mortg. Co.. Nos. 04-CV-875(KAM)
(RLM),2010 WL 3709278, at *14(E.D.N.Y.
Sept. 13,2010)(denying summary judgment motion based on movant's failure to submit a
Rule 56.1 Statement); MSF Holding Ltd. v. Fiduciary Trust Co. Int'l, 435 F. Supp. 2d 285,304
(S.D.N.Y. 2006)(same); Seariefat v. Dohertv Enters.. Inc.. No.02-CV-0604(SJF)(JO),
2005 WL 2413590, at *1 (E.D.N.Y. Sept. 29, 2005)(same).
In addition to being procedurally defective. Defendant's Motion may well be premature.
Plaintiffs submit that merits and expert discovery has not yet commenced in this action and that
"the minimal discovery" that has been taken "has only related to class discovery issues." (See
Decl. of Gary Graifinan in Opp'n to Mot.("Graifman Deck")(Dkt. 42)
Defendant responds that "[a]ny classwide conduct pertinent to Plaintiffs' claims ... was subject
to discovery during the [class] certification stage [of discovery]." (Def.'s Reply Mem. in Supp.
of Mot.("Def. Reply")(Dkt. 48)at 3.) Because the Motion is procedurally defective due to
Defendant's failure to file a Rule 56.1 Statement, the court need not decide whether Defendant's
Motion is also premature.^
^ Plaintiffs assert that additional fact discovery should be taken regarding the following subjects: "the Class
Vehicles' failure rates, per model years, for all models of Class Vehicles and at what mileage rates; what was known
regarding Defendant's non-engineering departments and/or personnel regarding the defect; what access did nonengineering departments and/or personnel have to the alleged wrongdoing; what were Defendant's standards for
disclosing defects; why were purchasers and/or lessees not informed ofthe problem; and safety related topics."
(Graifinan Decl. H 18.) While Plaintiffe admit that they have obtained some documents from a similar action
pending in the Central District of California(the "Falco matter"), including "certain internal documentation and
depositions," they clarify that "the depositions were only of engineering personnel." Qd ^1^ 16, 17.) Plaintiffs
report that fact discovery is still ongoing m the Falco matter and that they are "still developing their merits discovery
plan" in this action. (Id
^ A party "resisting summary judgment on the ground that it needs discovery in order to defeat the motion must
submit an affidavit showing(1) what facts are sought [to resist the motion] and how they are to be obtained,(2) how
those facts are reasonably expected to create a genuine issue of material fact,(3)what effort affiant has made to
obtain them, and (4) why the affiant was unsuccessful in those efforts." Gurarv v. Winehouse. 190 F.Sd 37,43
(2d Cir. 1999)(internal quotation marks and citation omitted)). Because the court is not denying Defendant's
Notwithstanding, the court cautions the parties that it will not adjudicate summary
judgment motions until the non-moving party has had "adequate time for discovery." Celotex
Corp. V. Catrett. 477 U.S. 317, 322(1986); see also Hellstrom v. U.S. Dep't of Veterans Affairs.
201 F.3d 94,97(2d Cir. 2000)("[Sjummaryjudgment should only be granted [i]f after
discovery, the nonmoving party has failed to make a sufficient showing on an essential element
of[its] case with respect to which [it] has the burden of proof."(internal quotation marks and
citation omitted)); Trebor Sportswear Co..Inc. v. The Ltd. Stores. Inc.. 865 F.2d 506,511
(2d Cir. 1989)(holding that the non-moving party "should not be 'railroaded' into his offer of
proof in opposition to summaryjudgment" and "must have 'had the opportunity to discover
information that is essential to his opposition' to the motion for summary judgment")(citing
Celotex. 477 U.S. at 326, and Anderson v. Libertv Lobbv. Inc.. 477 U.S. 242, 250 n.5 (1986)).
Because Defendant failed to file the required Rule 56.1 Statement, Defendant's Motion
(Dkt. 40)is DENIED WITHOUT PREJUDICE. Should Defendant decide to re-file its Motion
with a Rule 56.1 Statement, it must first obtain a certification ftom Magistrate Judge Peggy Kuo
that fact discovery is complete. The court expects that any renewed motion filed by Defendant
will comply with the Local Rules and the court's Individual Rules,including the page limits
Motion on the basis that it is premature, it need not decide whether the declaration proffered by Plaintiffs, describing
the additional fact discovery that should be taken, meets the requirements outlined in Gurarv.
^ Plaintiffs correctly point out that Defendant's 29-page memorandum oflaw exceeds the page limits delineated in
the court's Individual Rules. (See Pis. Opp'n at 7.) What is more, after Plaintiffs made this point in their opposition
brief. Defendant unabashedly ignored the court's Individual Rules, which state that reply memoranda are limited to
10 pages, and filed a 15-page reply memorandum oflaw. (See Def. Reply.) Defendant argues that it "originally
intended to file four separate motions" and therefore it was entitled to more than the maximum 25 pages called for in
the Individual Rules. (14 at 2.) The court warns Defendant that it could have and should have requested additional
The Clerk of Court is respectfully DIRECTED to amend the case caption to reflect the
fact that Todd Maszon and Chris Santimauro have been removed as putative class
representatives in this action. CSee Stip.(Dkt. 36)14.)
s/Nicholas G. Garaufis
Dated: Brooklyn, New York
ICHOLAS G. GARAUFIf
Jnited States District Judge
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