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Service Pump & Supply, Co., Inc. v. Sun Industries, LLC

United States District Court, S.D. West Virginia, Huntington Division

July 18, 2019

SERVICE PUMP & SUPPLY CO., INC, Plaintiff,
v.
SUN INDUSTRIES, LLC and TOBY BERTHELOT, Defendants.

          MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER

          ROBERT C. CHAMBERS UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.

         Pending before the Court are Plaintiff Service Pump & Supply Co., Inc's Motions for Summary Judgment against Defendant Sun Industries, LLC and Defendant Toby Berthelot. See ECF Nos. 29, 44, 56. This Court previously granted, in part, Plaintiff's Motion for Summary Judgment on its breach of contract claim against Defendant Sun. ECF No. 54. However, in order for the Court to rule on the remaining issues raised in the motion regarding interest, attorney fees, and costs, the Court directed the parties to file memoranda addressing those specific matters. See Id. The Court also directed Plaintiff to file any Motion for Summary Judgment against Defendant Berthelot by May 27, 2019, and Plaintiff did so on May 23, 2019. See id.; ECF No. 56.

         With respect to the parties' memoranda addressing the issues of interest, attorney fees, and costs, the parties only dispute the amount of interest which is due-with Plaintiff claiming that compound interest applies, and Defendants arguing that simple interest applies. See Defs.' Post-Hr'g Mem., ECF No. 58, at 2; Resp. in Opp. to Defs.' Post-Hr'g Mem., ECF No. 59, at 1. In regard to Plaintiff's Motion for Summary Judgment against Defendant Berthelot, Plaintiff argues that Defendant Berthelot is personally liable for Defendant Sun's obligations based on a credit contract, while Defendant Berthelot simply disputes the proposition that the credit contract exposes him to personal liability. See Mem. in Supp. of Pl.'s Mot. for Summ. J., ECF No. 57, at 1-6; Resp. in Opp. to Pl.'s Mot. for Summ. J., ECF No. 61, at 1.

         The parties have fully briefed the issues and the motions are ripe for adjudication. As explained below, the Court GRANTS, IN PART, and DENIES, IN PART, Plaintiff's Motion for Summary Judgment against Defendant Sun, and GRANTS Plaintiff's Motion for Summary Judgment against Defendant Berthelot.

         I. Background

         This case arises out of Plaintiff's allegation that Defendants breached a rental contract for generators by refusing to pay it the full contract price.[1] See Compl., ECF No. 1; Am. Compl., ECF No. 19. Plaintiff filed a Motion for Summary Judgment and an Amended Motion for Summary Judgment against only Defendant Sun on December 31, 2018, and March 22, 2019, respectively. See ECF Nos. 29, 44. Subsequently, on April 4, 2019, Defendants filed their own Motion for Summary Judgment against Plaintiff. See ECF No. 47.

         After reviewing the briefs and concluding that Defendant Sun breached the rental contract between the parties by failing to pay the full contract price, this Court entered a memorandum opinion and order denying Defendants' Motion for Summary Judgment, and granting, in part, Plaintiff's Motion for Summary Judgment against Defendant Sun. See Mem. Op. and Order. However, merely finding that Defendant Sun breached the rental contract did not dispose of all the issues in this case because of the undisputed existence of an ancillary contract between the parties-a “credit contract”-that contains an interest provision and a liability provision.

         The credit contract states the following regarding interest on debt:

1. The applicant [Defendant Sun] agrees to payment terms of net 30 days and understands that service charges of 1.5% per month may accrue and be payable on past due balances.
2. Accounts over 60 days past due will have open account privileges revoked until the account is paid to current.
3. In the event collection is required, the applicant agrees to pay for all costs and expenses incurred in collecting and all unpaid indebtedness. Said costs and expenses shall include all attorney and collection fees.

Credit Contract, ECF No. 19-2, at 2.

         The credit contract then states the following regarding liability for debt:

In order to extend credit to the above applicant [Defendant Sun], the undersigned, as an authorized officer of the company guarantees the prompt payment of any indebtedness which may at any time and from time to time be incurred, and in the event of any default by the applicant, Service Pump & Supply shall be entitled to look to the undersigned immediately for such payment without prior demand, notice or other indulgence. In consideration of Service Pump & Supply extending credit, the undersigned unconditionally personally guarantees, jointly ...

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