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SCHMID Pipeline Construction, Inc. v. Summit Natural Gas of Maine, Inc.

United States District Court, District of Maine

June 23, 2014

SCHMID PIPELINE CONSTRUCTION, INC., Plaintiff and Counterclaim Defendant,
v.
SUMMIT NATURAL GAS OF MAINE, INC. Defendant and Counterclaim Plaintiff

Plaintiff SCHMID PIPELINE CONSTRUCTION INC represented by JOHN A. HOBSON PERKINS THOMPSON, PA, JOSEPH G. TALBOT

Defendant SUMMIT NATURAL GAS OF MAINE INC represented by JOHN P. GIFFUNE VERRILL DANA LLP, A. ROBERT RUESCH VERRILL DANA LLP

Counter Claimant SUMMIT NATURAL GAS OF MAINE INC represented by JOHN P. GIFFUNE, A. ROBERT RUESCH

Counter Defendant SCHMID PIPELINE CONSTRUCTION INC represented by JOHN A. HOBSON, JOSEPH G. TALBOT

RECOMMENDED DECISION ON PLAINTIFF’S MOTION TO DISMISS COUNTERCLAIM COUNT IV

John C. Nivison U.S. Magistrate Judge

In this action, Plaintiff/Counterclaim Defendant Schmid Pipeline Construction (“Schmid”), a Wisconsin corporation, and Defendant/Counterclaim Plaintiff Summit Natural Gas of Maine (“Summit”), a Colorado corporation, assert claims arising out of a contract for the construction and installation of the “Kennebec Valley Pipeline Project.” The matter is before the Court on Plaintiff’s Motion to Dismiss Count IV of Defendant’s Counterclaim (Motion to Dismiss, ECF No. 9).[1] Through its motion, Schmid argues that Summit’s counterclaim for negligent misrepresentation is barred by the economic loss doctrine. (Motion to Dismiss at 4-9.)

Following a review of the pleadings, and after consideration of the parties’ arguments, as explained below, the recommendation is that the Court grant the motion.

FACTUAL BACKGROUND

In its Complaint, Schmid alleges, inter alia, that “the scope of the Work represented to Plaintiff by Defendant was significantly greater than originally estimated and budgeted for under the Contract.” (Complaint ¶ 16.) Schmid, therefore, seeks to recover the increased costs for the additional work that it was required to perform. (Id. ¶ 27.)

In its Counterclaim, Summit alleges that Schmid misrepresented its capabilities and its ability to meet certain deadlines. (Counterclaim ¶¶ 11, 17.) In addition to its claims for breach of contract, unjust enrichment, and breach of warranties, Summit asserts a claim of negligent misrepresentation (Count IV). As part of its negligent misrepresentation claim, Summit alleges that Schmid “submitted false information to Summit regarding Schmid’s expected and actual costs to perform its work on the Project, ” that Schmid “failed to exercise reasonable care in submitting accurate information to Summit regarding Schmid’s estimated costs for its work on the Project, ” and that Summit “justifiably relied upon [the] information . . . in making decisions about contracting with Schmid and in making payments to Schmid for Schmid’s work on the Project.” (Id. ¶¶ 76, 78, 80).

Discussion

A. Standard of Review

Pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6), a party may seek dismissal of “a claim for relief in any pleading” if that party believes that the pleading fails “to state a claim upon which relief can be granted.” In its assessment of the motion, the Court must “assume the truth of all well-plead facts and give the plaintiff[] the benefit of all reasonable inferences therefrom.” Blanco v. Bath Iron Works Corp., 802 F.Supp.2d 215, 221 (D. Me. 2011) (quoting Genzyme Corp. v. Fed. Ins. Co., 622 F.3d 62, 68 (1st Cir. 2010)). To overcome the motion, Counterclaim Plaintiff ...


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