Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

Lefoldt v. Rentfro

United States District Court, S.D. Mississippi, Western Division

December 1, 2017

H. KENNETH LEFOLDT, JR. PLAINTIFF
v.
DONALD RENTFRO, et al. DEFENDANTS

          MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER

          KEITH STARRETT, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE

         For the reasons below, the Court finds that the question of the scope of the arbitration provision in the 2009 engagement letter is moot. The Court grants Horne, LLP's Motion for Partial Summary Judgment [131] as to Plaintiff's professional malpractice claims for the years 2010, 2011, 2012, and 2013. But the Court denies Horne's Motion for Partial Summary Judgment [148] as to Plaintiff's professional malpractice claims for 2009.

         I. Background

         Both this Court and the Court of Appeals have discussed the factual and procedural background of this case. See Lefoldt v. Horne, LLP, 853 F.3d 804 (5th Cir. 2017); Lefoldt v. Rentfro, No. 5:15-CV-96-KS-MTP, 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 48463 (S.D.Miss. Apr. 11, 2016). Horne filed a motion to compel arbitration pursuant to three engagement letters detailing the terms upon which Horne would provide auditing services to the Natchez Regional Medical Center (“NRMC”). This Court held that there were no agreements to arbitrate because neither the engagement letters nor the arbitration provisions were spread on the minutes of NRMC's board of trustees. Lefoldt, 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 48463 at *8.

         Horne appealed, and the Court of Appeals affirmed this Court's decision in part and vacated it in part. Lefoldt, 853 F.3d at 808. First, the Court of Appeals held that “because of the minutes requirement, the 2010 and 2012 engagement letters are not contracts to which NRMC is a party, and therefore NRMC is not a party to the arbitration provisions in the 2010 and 2012 engagement letters.” Id. But because “[t]he minutes of NRMC's board reflect that an agreement with Horne was reached in 2009, . . . the minutes rule does not pertain to that contract's formation.” Id. Therefore, the Court of Appeals vacated this Court's ruling with respect to the 2009 engagement letter, and remanded with instructions to

determine the scope of the arbitration agreement - specifically, whether the arbitration agreement in the 2009 engagement letter requires arbitration of the effect of the minutes rule on the validity of the 2009 engagement letter. If the parties did not agree to arbitrate that issue, then the district court should resolve the effect of the minutes rule on the validity of the 2009 letter agreement.

Id.

         After the Court of Appeals remanded the case, Horne immediately filed a Motion for Partial Summary Judgment [131] as to any malpractice claims arising from the 2010 and 2012 audits, regardless of whether they sound in contract or tort. On May 26, 2017, the Court ordered [146] the parties to submit briefs as to the scope of the arbitration provision in the 2009 engagement letter, as specified by the Fifth Circuit. Horne then filed a Motion for Partial Summary Judgment [148] as to all claims arising under the 2009 engagement letter, regardless of whether they sound in contract or tort.

         II. Standard of Review

         Rule 56 provides that “[t]he 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(a); see also Sierra Club, Inc. v. Sandy Creek Energy Assocs., L.P., 627 F.3d 134, 138 (5th Cir. 2010). “An issue is material if its resolution could affect the outcome of the action.” Sierra Club, Inc., 627 F.3d at 138. “An issue is ‘genuine' if the evidence is sufficient for a reasonable jury to return a verdict for the nonmoving party.” Cuadra v. Houston Indep. Sch. Dist., 626 F.3d 808, 812 (5th Cir. 2010).

         The Court is not permitted to make credibility determinations or weigh the evidence. Deville v. Marcantel, 567 F.3d 156, 164 (5th Cir. 2009). When deciding whether a genuine fact issue exists, “the court must view the facts and the inference to be drawn therefrom in the light most favorable to the nonmoving party.” Sierra Club, Inc., 627 F.3d at 138. However, “[c]onclusional allegations and denials, speculation, improbable inferences, unsubstantiated assertions, and legalistic argumentation do not adequately substitute for specific facts showing a genuine issue for trial.” Oliver v. Scott, 276 F.3d 736, 744 (5th Cir. 2002).

         III. Scope of the 2009 Arbitration Provision

         As noted above, the Court of Appeals directed this Court to determine “whether the arbitration agreement in the 2009 engagement letter requires arbitration of the effect of the minutes rule on the validity of the 2009 engagement letter.” Lefoldt, 853 F.3d at 808. However, the parties now agree that this litigation does not fall within the scope of the 2009 letter's arbitration provision. Therefore, the Court finds that the question of whether the 2009 letter's arbitration provision requires arbitration of the effect of the minutes rule is moot.

         IV. Motion for Partial ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.