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HCP Springs MOB Louisville, LLC v. Bluegrass Pain Consultants, PLLC

United States District Court, W.D. Kentucky, Louisville

December 6, 2019

HCP SPRINGS MOB LOUISVILLE, LLC PLAINTIFF
v.
BLUEGRASS PAIN CONSULTANTS, PLLC AND CHRISTOPHER L. NELSON DEFENDANTS

          MEMORANDUM OPINION

          CHARLES R. SIMPSON III, SENIOR JUDGE

         1. Introduction

         This case is before the Court on Plaintiff HCP Springs MOB Louisville, LLC's (“HCP”) motion for summary judgment, DN 23, against Defendant Christopher L. Nelson M.D. (“Nelson”). Nelson failed to file a response to this motion. There being no genuine issue of material fact, the Court will grant Plaintiff's motion for summary judgment and refer the issue of damages to the magistrate judge for a report and recommendation under 28 U.S.C. § 636 (b)(1)(B).

         II. Factual Background and Procedural History

         This is a breach of contract case. On April 6, 2011, Bluegrass Pain Consultants, PLLC (“Bluegrass Pain”) entered into an Office Lease Agreement with MRI Asset Management LLC to lease Suite 60 at 6400 Dutchman's Parkway in Louisville Kentucky (“Suite 60 Lease”). DN 23 at 2. This lease was amended on February 21, 2014, to include Suite 80 at 6420 Dutchman's Parkway. Id. HCP acquired the Suite 60 Lease from MRI Asset Management as a successor in interest. Id. On June 30, 2017, Bluegrass Pain and HCP entered into a Base Year Medical Office Lease Agreement for Suite 170 at 6420 Dutchman's Parkway (“Suite 170 Lease”). Id. Nelson is the guarantor of both leases. DN 1-1 at 71; DN 1-2 at 19.

         Bluegrass Pain failed to pay rent for both leases in June, July, and August of 2018. DN 7 at ¶ 23; DN 23 at 5. HCP sent written notices to Bluegrass Pain informing it of its default. See DN 1-4. On or about September 3, 2018, Bluegrass Pain vacated each office suite. DN 7 at ¶ 26; DN 23 at 5. Bluegrass Pain then failed to pay HCP rent for September of 2018. DN 7 at ¶ 25; DN 23 at 5. HCP sent another written notice to Bluegrass Pain informing it of its default. DN 23 at 5.

         On October 19, 2018, HCP filed this suit against Bluegrass Pain and Nelson. DN 1. In its complaint, HCP alleged Bluegrass Pain breached both leases, Nelson breached his guarantees, and HCP is entitled to damages. Id. at 7-10. On May 10, 2019, Bluegrass Pain filed a notice of bankruptcy. DN 16. This Court entered an order that stayed all further proceedings against Bluegrass Pain pursuant to 11 U.S.C. § 362. DN 19. HCP filed this motion for summary judgment against Nelson on June 17, 2019. DN 23. Nelson has not responded.

         III. Legal Standard

         Summary judgment is appropriate when the moving party can show that “there is no genuine dispute as to any material fact and the movant is entitled to a judgment as a matter of law.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(a). “[T]he mere existence of some alleged factual dispute between the parties will not defeat an otherwise properly supported motion for summary judgment; the requirement is that there be no genuine issue of material fact.” Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 247-48 (1986). A genuine issue for trial exists when “there is sufficient evidence favoring the non-moving party for a jury to return a verdict for that party.” Id. In undertaking this analysis, the Court must view the evidence in the light most favorable to the non-moving party. Scott v. Harris, 550 U.S. 372, 378 (2007).

         The party moving for summary judgment bears the burden of proof for establishing the nonexistence of any issue of material fact. Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 323 (1986). They can meet this burden by “citing to particular parts of materials in the record” or “showing that the materials cited do not establish the…presence of a genuine dispute.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(c)(1). This burden can also be met by demonstrating that the nonmoving party “fail[ed] to make a showing sufficient to establish the existence of an element essential to that party's case, and on which that party will bear the burden of proof at trial.” Celotex, 477 U.S. at 322. The nonmoving party also “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).

         IV. Discussion

         HCP argues that (1) its claim can proceed against Nelson under the automatic stay, (2) Bluegrass Pain breached both leases, and (3) it is entitled to recover damages from Nelson. The Court will address each argument.

         A. Bankruptcy Stay

         HCP argues that its motion for summary judgment “only seeks relief against Nelson” and can proceed under the Court's order. DN 23 at 1. The Court agrees. In the Sixth Circuit, a stay under § 362 is strictly construed to only prevent proceedings against the debtor. Patton v. Bearden,8 F.3d 343 at 348-349 (6th Cir. 1993). The stay does not automatically preclude claims against non-debtor co-defendants from proceeding. Lynch ...


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