United States District Court, D. Maryland
Richard D. Bennett United States District Judge
case involves a dispute over property and mineral rights in a
parcel of land located in Garrett County, Maryland.
Plaintiffs CDS Family Trust, LLC and The Carl Delsignore
Family Trust (collectively, “plaintiffs” or
“CDS”) seek a declaratory judgment regarding
their asserted ownership in the property and also assert
several counts in tort based on defendants' allegedly
unlawful exploitation of the minerals and the land. (ECF No.
19.) Defendants Corsa Coal Corporation NAPP
(“Corsa”), Wilson Creek Energy, LLC
(“Wilson Creek”), WPO, Inc. (“WPO”),
Ernest R. Martin, Patricia J. Martin, Jeffrey Rose, and
Debbie Rose have filed a series of cross- and counter-claims
asserting their own respective interests in the property and
claims based thereon.
pending before this Court are two motions: first, the Motion
for Summary Judgment (ECF No. 53) (the “Martin
Motion”) filed by Ernest Martin and Patricia Martin;
second, the Motion for Leave to File Second Amended Complaint
(ECF No. 62) (the “CDS Motion”) filed by CDS. The
parties' submissions have been reviewed, and no hearing
is necessary. See Local Rule 105.6 (D. Md. 2016).
For the reasons stated below, the Martin Motion for Summary
Judgment (ECF No. 53) is DENIED WITHOUT PREJUDICE, and the
CDS Motion for Leave to File Second Amended Complaint (ECF
No. 62) is GRANTED.
ruling on a Motion for Summary Judgment, this Court considers
the facts and draws all reasonable inferences in the light
most favorable to the nonmoving party. Scott v.
Harris, 550 U.S. 372, 378 (2007).
a series of land transactions and testamentary devises over
the past sixty years, the CDS plaintiffs and the Martin
defendants have come to assert competing ownership claims
over portions of the land and mineral rights in the
Kittanning and Freeport coal seams which exist, in part, in
Garrett County, Maryland. (ECF No. 19 at ¶¶ 12-15.)
In November 2005, the Martins entered into a lease agreement
with defendant WPO, Inc., to allow WPO to extract coal and
other minerals from their purported property. (Id.
at ¶ 19.) The Rose defendants are the agents of WPO, and
have acted on its behalf during the relevant period.
(Id. at ¶ 6.) In January 2011, PBS Coals, Inc.
(“PBSC”) entered into an agreement with WPO to
purchase WPO's rights as lessee of the purported Martin
property. (Id. at ¶ 23.) From 2011 to 2013,
PBSC and WPO extracted substantial amounts of coal from the
disputed property. (Id. at ¶¶ 25-28.) In
2014, defendant Corsa Coal Corporation purchased PBSC.
(Id. at ¶ 29.) PBSC now exists as a
wholly-owned subsidiary of Corsa Coal. (ECF No. 65-1 at
¶¶ 5-6.) Through this action, plaintiffs seek a
declaratory judgment that they are the owners of portions of
the Kittanning and Freeport coal seams and coal. (ECF No. 19
at ¶ 32.) Plaintiffs also allege that defendants have
wrongfully extracted and conveyed significant portions of
plaintiffs' purported minerals and seek damages and an
accounting to remedy the financial injuries which defendants
Motion for Summary Judgment
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.” Libertarian Party of Va. v. Judd, 718
F.3d 308, 313 (4th Cir. 2013) (quoting 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.” Anderson,
477 U.S. at 248. 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.
for summary judgment must be supported by admissible evidence
of record. Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(c)(1). The rule itself provides
that, “[a] party asserting that a fact cannot be or is
genuinely disputed must support the assertion by:
(A) citing to particular parts of materials
in the record, including depositions, documents,
electronically stored information, affidavits or
declarations, stipulations (including those made for purposes
of the motion only), admissions, interrogatory answers, or
other materials; or;
(B) showing that the materials cited do not
establish the absence or presence of a genuine dispute, or
that an adverse party cannot produce admissible evidence to
support the fact.
Fed. R. Civ. P. 56(c)(1). A motion for summary judgment will
be denied if it is not sufficiently supported by admissible
evidence of record. See generally Under A Foot Plant, Co.
v. Exterior Design, Inc., BPG-15-871, 2016 WL 4555021,
at *3 (D. Md. Sept. 1, 2016).
evaluating a Motion for Summary Judgment, this Court must
consider the facts and all reasonable inferences in the light
most favorable to the nonmoving party. Libertarian Party
of Va., 718 F.3d at 312; see also Scott v.
Harris, 550 U.S. 372, 378 (2007). This Court “must
not weigh evidence or make credibility determinations.”
Foster v. University of Md.-Eastern Shore, 787 F.3d
243, 248 (4th Cir. 2015) (citing Mercantile Peninsula
Bank v. French, 499 F.3d 345, 352 (4th Cir. 2007));
see also Jacobs v. N.C. Administrative Office of ...