United States District Court, D. Maryland
DEBORAH K. CHASANOW United States District Judge.
pending and ready for resolution in this defamation case are
the following motions: (1) a motion for summary judgment
filed by Plaintiff Best Security Training & Associates, LLC
("Best Security" or "Plaintiff") (ECF No.
32); (2) a cross-motion for summary judgment filed by
Defendant Paragon Systems, Inc. ("Paragon" or
"Defendant") (ECF No. 34); and (3) a motion to seal
partially an exhibit filed by Defendant (ECF No. 36). The
relevant issues have been fully briefed, and the court now
rules, no hearing being deemed necessary. Local Rule 105.6.
For the following reasons, Plaintiff's motion for summary
judgment will be denied. Defendant's cross-motion for
summary judgment will be granted in part and denied in part,
and its motion to file a redacted exhibit will be granted.
otherwise noted, the following facts are undisputed. Best
Security provides weapons and security training for
individuals seeking positions with the Federal Protective
Service ("FPS") at federal properties and various
other positions that require a Maryland, Virginia, or
District of Columbia security officer license. (ECF No. 32-1,
at 4). Charles Gaskins, Best Security's owner and sole
member, previously worked for CMS Training Academy &
Protective Services, LLC ("CMS"), another security
training company. (Id. at 5; ECF No. 34-1, at 4). On
April 1, 2013, Mr. Gaskins left CMS to focus on building Best
Security. (ECF No. 34-8, at 3).
at CMS, Mr. Gaskins provided training for individuals who
were seeking employment as FPS security officers with
Paragon. (ECF No. 32-1, at 5). Paragon contracts with FPS to
provide security officers for federal properties. (ECF No.
34-1, at 2). While still employed by CMS, Mr. Gaskins
approached Paragon about providing training for officers who
would be working for Paragon pursuant to Paragon's new
contract with FPS under which Paragon was to provide security
for the United States Department of Homeland Security and the
United States Coast Guard's new headquarters at St.
Elizabeths in Washington, D.C. (ECF Nos. 34-1, at 5; 34-8, at
15). Best Security's first training class was scheduled
for May 2013. (ECF Nos. 34-1, at 5; 34-8, at 19). Nicholas
Hill, a Paragon employee at the time, was registered for the
class but ultimately did not attend. The parties dispute why
Mr. Hill did not attend the class: Plaintiff contends that
Mr. Hill refused to satisfy the class's requirements, and
Defendant asserts that Mr. Hill did not attend the class
either because he learned that Best Security was unable to
provide the FPS training he sought or due to confusion over
the schedule. (ECF Nos. 32-1, at 5-6; 34-1, at 5, 9).
to Plaintiff, in June 2013, Yasimina Jackson completed a
training class at Best Security and applied for a security
guard position with Paragon. (ECF No. 32-1, at 6). Plaintiff
avers that Paragon informed Ms. Jackson that Best Security
"was not accredited to teach" an FPS security
officer training course. (Id.). Mr. Gaskins sent an
e-mail to Richard Waddell, a program manager at Paragon,
asking why Ms. Jackson was told Best Security was not
accredited. (ECF No. 34-13). Mr. Waddell informed Mr. Gaskins
that there was an issue with Best Security's
"exhibits, " and requested that Best Security
"refrain from sending personnel to Paragon for
employment [because Paragon] cannot accept [Best
Security's] exhibits." (Id.). According to Mr.
Gaskins, Paragon continued to accept Exhibits he signed when
working at CMS but did not accept exhibits he, Mr. Hill sent
an email to eighty-six unidentified individuals:
Unfortunately due to our training department[']s
investigation into the accreditation of BEST SECURITY (Mr.
Charles Gaskins)[, ] they have found that this Security
company has not been accredited and therefore we cannot use
the exhibits. I apologize for this[;] I have just found out
from our training department. If this pertains to you please
reply to this email.
No. 32-4, at 2). According to Plaintiff, three of the six
students enrolled in a training class withdrew and requested
a refund after receiving Mr. Hill's e-mail. (ECF No.
32-1, at 7). Plaintiff also contends that it lost ...