Judge Sanders denied a summary judgment motion that involved questions of fact—such as a defendant’s knowledge and reasonable reliance—that almost always require determination by the finder of fact. The case involved claims of violation of the Massachusetts Securities Act, fraud, and negligent misrepresentation (among others) arising out of defendants’ sale of common stock of a closely held corporation to plaintiffs. Judge Sanders denied the defendants’ motion for summary judgment, noting in particular the high burdens placed on defendants under the Securities Act and issues of fact involved in the fraud and negligent misrepresentation claims.
“The motions before this Court are yet another example of misguided attempts by some members of the business bar to use summary judgment as the vehicle to decide issues which by their nature almost always require resolution at trial,” Judge Sanders wrote.
So, tread carefully when pursuing summary judgment on claims involving fact-intensive determinations. And, should only some claims be ripe for determination on summary judgment, don’t forget the BLS’s procedural rule concerning the parties’ obligation to meet and confer and obtain leave of court before filing a partial dispositive motion.
George Noble and Charles Minasian v. Christian Collias, Julie Comas, Richard Foster, and Progressive Gourmet, Inc.
November 10, 2016
Full decision here.