United States District Court, S.D. New York
OPINION & ORDER
KATHERINE B. FORREST, District Judge.
On January 13, 2012, plaintiff Jupiter Print Pack India, Ltd. ("Jupiter"), a commercial printer in India, filed this action against defendant Anand Printing Machinery, Inc. ("Anand"), a New York printing press vendor. (ECF No. 1.) Jupiter alleges that it remitted $160, 000 via a bank wire transfer to Anand on December 31, 2010 in exchange for a commercial printing press that it has never received. (ECF No. 60.) Jupiter makes two claims in this action: that Anand breached its contract with Jupiter and that Anand was unjustly enriched by keeping the $160, 000. (ECF No. 60.)
Before this Court is a motion for summary judgment filed by Anand. (ECF No. 103.) While Jupiter has subsequently conceded the breach of contract claim, it cross-moved for summary judgment on the unjust enrichment claim. (ECF No. 107.) On the remaining unjust enrichment claim, the Court finds that Jupiter has failed to present admissible evidence supporting an essential element of the claim. Jupiter's failure to take depositions after four extensions of time renders them unable to present admissible facts establishing that it is inequitable for Anand to retain the $160, 000 at issue in this case. Accordingly, Anand's motion for summary judgment is GRANTED and Jupiter's cross-motion for summary judgment is DENIED.
I. FACTUAL BACKGROUND
Since 2008, Anand has been in the business of buying and selling offset printing machines. (Jupiter's Rule 56.1 Statement in Support ¶ 4, ECF No. 109-1.) The parties agree that on December 31, 2010, Anand received $160, 000 by wire transfer from Jupiter's bank. (Id. ¶ 3.) They also agree that Anand has not sent a printing machine to Jupiter. (Id. ¶ 5.)
The parties differ on why $160, 000 was sent to Anand, and on whose behalf the funds were sent. Anand sets forth the following facts: third-party Ayyanathan Gunasekaran ("Mr. Guna") and Anand contracted for the purchase of a $125, 000 Planeta 64 printing machine. (Anand's Rule 56.1 Statement in Opp'n ¶ Add. Fact. 5.) Anand delivered that machine to Mr. Guna upon payment of a non-refundable $50, 000 deposit. (Id. ¶ Add. Fact. 6.) "Upon information and belief", Anand asserts that Mr. Guna thereafter re-sold the Planeta 64 machine to Jupiter for $160, 000. (Id. ¶ Add. Fact. 7.) Mr. Guna, who "routinely" directs unrelated third parties to make deposits to sellers of printing machines, directed Jupiter to transfer the $160, 000 purchase funds to Anand as a deposit on Mr. Guna's separate purchase: a 1997 KBA 104-8 SW 4 (the "KBA 104-8") printing machine. (Id. ¶ Add. Fact. 7-8.) Anand claims that neither Mr. Guna nor his company, Safire Lithographers, made Anand aware that such a purchase might be for the benefit of Jupiter. (Id. ¶ Add. Fact. 2.) Rather, they say that Mr. Guna simply advised Anand to apply Jupiter's $160, 000 payment as a non-refundable deposit on the KBA 104-8 printing machine. (Id. ¶ Add. Fact. 3.) Anand acquired and prepared the KBA 104-8 to be shipped to Mr. Guna pending payment on the remaining purchase price. (Id. ¶ Add. Fact. 4.) In December 2010, Anand sold Mr. Guna the KBA 104-8 printing machine. (Id. ¶ 6.)
Jupiter tells a different story, though it is unable to present sufficient evidence to support it. Jupiter points to deposition testimony from third-party Mr. Guna to dispute Anand's assertion that Mr. Guna ever contracted or entered into negotiations with Anand for the purchase of the KBA 104-8 printing machine. (Jupiter's 56.1 Statement in Support ¶ 7, ECF No. 109-1.) Jupiter instead claims that Mr. Guna advised Anand that Jupiter wanted to purchase a Planeta 64 printing machine directly from Anand. (Jupiter's Reply 56.1 Statement in Opp'n ¶ 2, ECF No. 121-3.) Although unable to offer evidence connecting the transfer of money with any understanding regarding the purchase of a printing machine, Jupiter asserts that on December 31, 2010, it wired Anand $160, 000 in exchange for a commercial printing press. (Jupiter's 56.1 Statement in Support ¶ 3.)
II. STANDARD OF REVIEW
Summary judgment may not be granted unless a movant shows, based on admissible evidence in the record, "that there is no genuine dispute as to any material fact and the movant is entitled to judgment as a matter of law." Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(a). The moving party bears the burden of demonstrating "the absence of a genuine issue of material fact." Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 323 (1986). On summary judgment, the Court must "construe all evidence in the light most favorable to the nonmoving party, drawing all inferences and resolving all ambiguities in its favor." Dickerson v. Napolitano, 604 F.3d 732, 740 (2d Cir. 2010).
Once the moving party has asserted facts showing that the nonmoving party's claims cannot be sustained, the opposing party must set out specific facts showing a genuine issue of material fact for trial. Price v. Cushman & Wakefield, Inc., 808 F.Supp.2d 670, 685 (S.D.N.Y. 2011); see also Wright v. Goord, 554 F.3d 255, 266 (2d Cir. 2009). "[A] party may not rely on mere speculation or conjecture as to the true nature of the facts to overcome a motion for summary judgment, " because "[m]ere conclusory allegations or denials... cannot by themselves create a genuine issue of material fact where none would otherwise exist." Hicks v. Baines, 593 F.3d 159, 166 (2d Cir. 2010) (citations omitted); see also Price, 808 F.Supp.2d at 685 ("In seeking to show that there is a genuine issue of material fact for trial, the non-moving party cannot rely on mere allegations, denials, conjectures or conclusory statements, but must present affirmative and specific evidence showing that there is a genuine issue for trial.").
Only disputes relating to material facts-i.e., "facts that might affect the outcome of the suit under the governing law"-will properly preclude the entry of summary judgment. Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 248 (1986); see also Matsushita Elec. Indus. Co., Ltd. v. Zenith Radio Corp., 475 U.S. 574, 586 (1986) (stating that the nonmoving party "must do more than simply show that there is some metaphysical doubt as to the material facts"). The Court should not accept evidence presented by the nonmoving party that is so "blatantly contradicted by the record... that no reasonable jury could believe it." Scott v. Harris, 550 U.S. 372, 380 (2007); see also Zellner v. Summerlin, 494 F.3d 344, 371 (2d Cir. 2007) ("Incontrovertible evidence relied on by the moving party... should be credited by the court on [a summary judgment] motion if it so utterly discredits the opposing party's version that no reasonable juror could fail to believe the version advanced by the moving party.").
As Jupiter has conceded its breach of contract claim, all that remains is its unjust ...