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Skrzecz v. Gibson Island Corporation

United States District Court, D. Maryland

January 27, 2015

SUSAN SKRZECZ, Plaintiff,
v.
GIBSON ISLAND CORPORATION, et al., Defendants.

MEMORANDUM OPINION

RICHARD D. BENNETT, District Judge.

Plaintiff Susan Skrzecz ("Plaintiff" or "Skrzecz") brings this action against Defendants Gibson Island Corporation ("Gibson Island"), Richard McMillan, Jr. ("McMillan"), and Richard Dorio ("Dorio") (collectively, "Defendants"), alleging violations of the Fair Labor Standards Act, 29 U.S.C. § 203, et seq.; the Maryland Wage and Hour Law, Md. Code Ann., Lab. & Empl. § 3-401, et seq.; the Maryland Wage Payment and Collection Law, Md. Code Ann., Lab. & Empl. § 3-501, et seq.; and various common law fraud claims.[1]

Currently pending is Defendants' Motion for Summary Judgment on Counts V, VI, and VIII[2] (ECF No. 57). The parties' submissions have been reviewed and no hearing is necessary. See Local Rule 105.6 (D. Md. 2014).[3] For the reasons that follow, Defendants' Motion for Summary Judgment with respect to Counts V, VI, and VII (ECF No. 57) is GRANTED.[4]

BACKGROUND

In ruling on a motion for summary judgment, this Court reviews the facts and all reasonable inferences in the light most favorable to the nonmoving party. Scott v. Harris, 550 U.S. 372, 378 (2007); see also Hardwick ex rel. Hardwick v. Heyward, 711 F.3d 426, 433 (4th Cir. 2013).

The facts underlying Skrzecz's claims remain as recounted in this Court's earlier Memorandum Opinion addressing Defendants' first Motion for Summary Judgment (ECF No. 24). See Mem. Op., 1-8, ECF No. 43. On July 11, 2014, this Court entered judgment in favor of Defendants on Plaintiff's claims for unpaid wages (Counts I-III), but denied Summary Judgment as to Count IV, the retaliation claim under the Fair Labor Standards Act, 29 U.S.C. § 216. Order, ECF No. 44. Defendants' first Motion for Summary Judgment proceeded as a partial motion for summary judgment on Counts I-IV alone, as the parties agreed that any summary judgment motions related to the additional claims of the Amended Complaint (ECF No. 35) would not be considered until fully briefed. Mem. Op., at 2 n.2, 7.

The subject Motion for Summary Judgment (ECF No. 57) addresses only Counts V, VI, and the re-captioned Count VII of the Amended Complaint. Defendants contend that no genuine dispute as to material facts exists as related to the challenged claims.[5] Given the undisputed facts, Skrzecz thus fails to establish the elements necessary to each fraud claim. The pending Motion was fully briefed by both parties.

STANDARD OF REVIEW

Rule 56 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure provides that a court "shall grant summary judgment if the movant shows 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(c). A material fact is one that "might affect the outcome of the suit under the governing law." Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 248 (1986). A genuine issue over a material fact exists "if the evidence is such that a reasonable jury could return a verdict for the nonmoving party." Id. When considering a motion for summary judgment, a judge's function is limited to determining whether sufficient evidence exists on a claimed factual dispute to warrant submission of the matter to a jury for resolution at trial. Id. at 249.

In undertaking this inquiry, this Court must consider the facts and all reasonable inferences in the light most favorable to the nonmoving party. Scott v. Harris, 550 U.S. 372, 378 (2007). However, this Court must also abide by its affirmative obligation to prevent factually unsupported claims and defenses from going to trial. Drewitt v. Pratt, 999 F.2d 774, 778-79 (4th Cir. 1993). If the evidence presented by the nonmoving party is merely colorable, or is not significantly probative, summary judgment must be granted. Anderson, 477 U.S. at 249-50. On the other hand, a party opposing summary judgment must "do more than simply show that there is some metaphysical doubt as to the material facts." Matsushita Elec. Indus. Co. v. Zenith Radio Corp., 475 U.S. 574, 586 (1986); see also In re Apex Express Corp., 190 F.3d 624, 633 (4th Cir. 1999). This Court has previously explained that a "party cannot create a genuine dispute of material fact through mere speculation or compilation of inferences." Shin v. Shalala, 166 F.Supp.2d 373, 375 (D. Md. 2001) (citations omitted).

ANALYSIS

Plaintiff Skrzecz's Amended Complaint adds three common law fraud causes of action against the Defendants. In Count V, Skrzecz claims that Defendants intentionally misrepresented her on-call compensation. Amend. Compl. ¶¶ 66-80. Similarly, Count VI alleges that Defendants fraudulently concealed the terms of her on-call compensation. Id. ¶¶ 81-91. Finally, in the re-captioned Count VII, Skrzecz asserts a claim of negligent misrepresentation and implied negligent misrepresentation regarding the terms and conditions of her on-call compensation. Id. ¶¶ 92-104. In moving for summary judgment on Counts V, VI, and VII, Defendants contend that Plaintiff fails to raise any genuine disputes of material fact and cannot satisfy the necessary elements of each claim. Given the fundamental deficiencies in Skrzecz's claims, Defendants argue that they are entitled to judgment as a matter of law. Each Count will be addressed in turn.

A. Count V - Fraud-Intentional Misrepresentation

Defendants contend that summary judgment as to Count V is appropriate because Plaintiff cannot provide sufficient proof such that a reasonable jury could find for her on each element necessary to her claim. Under Maryland law, a plaintiff asserting a claim for fraudulent ...


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