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City of Syracuse v. American Underground Engineering

January 14, 2009

CITY OF SYRACUSE, PLAINTIFF,
v.
AMERICAN UNDERGROUND ENGINEERING, INC. MANAGEMENT, INC. AND LONG DEFENDANTS.
LONG MANAGEMENT, INC., THIRD-PARTY PLAINTIFF,
v.
AMERICAN UNDERGROUND ENGINEERING, INC., THIRD-PARTY DEFENDANT.
AMERICAN UNDERGROUND ENGINEERING, INC. FOURTH-PARTY PLAINTIFF,
v.
CITY OF SYRACUSE AND JOHN P. STOPEN ENGINEERING, P.C., FOURTH-PARTY DEFENDANTS.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Scullin, Senior Judge

(Member)

MEMORANDUM-DECISION AND ORDER

I. INTRODUCTION

Currently before the Court is Defendant American Underground Engineering, Inc.'s ("AUG") motion for partial summary judgment*fn1 with respect to its counterclaims for breach of contract against Plaintiff City of Syracuse ("Plaintiff City").

II. BACKGROUND

Plaintiff City commenced this action in New York State Supreme Court against Defendant AUE and United States Fidelity & Guaranty Co. ("USF&G") on January 24, 2000, asserting, among other things, claims for breach of contract, violation of the New York Lien Law and loss of revenue relating to a City public works project for the rehabilitation of the MONY Plaza garage ("Project").

On February 14, 2000, Defendant AUE removed this action to this Court based on diversity of citizenship. See Dkt. No. 1. Defendant AUE interposed an answer and asserted three counterclaims*fn2 against Plaintiff City for breach of contract.*fn3 It is these counterclaims that are the subject of the pending motion.

III. DISCUSSION

A. Summary Judgment Standard

Pursuant to Rule 56 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, summary judgment is warranted when "the pleadings, depositions, answers to interrogatories, and admissions on file, together with the affidavits . . . show that there is no genuine issue as to any material fact and that the moving part is entitled to judgment as a matter of law." Fed. R. Civ. P. 56(c). A fact is "material" if it "might affect the outcome of the suit under the governing law." Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 248 (1986). A material fact is genuinely in dispute "if the evidence is such that a reasonable jury could return a verdict for the nonmoving party." Id.

The party moving for summary judgment bears the initial burden of demonstrating that there is no genuine dispute about any material fact to be decided with respect to any essential element of the claim at issue; failure to meet this burden warrants denial of the motion. See id. at 250 n.4. If the moving party meets its initial burden, the opposing party must show, through affidavits or otherwise, that there is a material issue of fact for trial. See Fed. R. Civ. P. 56(e); Anderson, 477 U.S. at 250.

Finally, when deciding a motion for summary judgment, a court must resolve all ambiguities and draw all reasonable inferences from the facts in a light most favorable to the nonmoving party. See Jeffreys v. City of New York, 426 F.3d 549, 553 (2d Cir. 2005); Wright v. Coughlin, 132 F.3d 133, 137-38 (2d Cir. 1998). Summary judgment is inappropriate where "review of the record reveals sufficient evidence for a rational trier of fact to find in the [non-movant's] favor." Treglia v. Town of Manlius, 313 F.3d 713, 719 (2d Cir. 2002) (citation omitted); see also Anderson, 477 U.S. at 250 (holding that summary judgment is appropriate only when "there can be but one reasonable conclusion as to the verdict").

B. Defendant AUE's Motion for Summary Judgment

Even a cursory review of the parties' submissions demonstrates that there are multiple issues of material fact that preclude the Court from granting Defendant AUE's motion. In fact, as their Statements of Material Facts demonstrate, the parties agree about very few facts. See, generally, Defendant AUE's Statement of Material Facts; Plaintiff City's Response to Defendant AUE's Statement of Material Facts; Defendant AUE's Reply to Plaintiff City's Statement of Additional Material Facts. It appears that the only thing about which the parties completely agree is that they entered into a contract and that one of them ...


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