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Crancer v. Bear Creek Water Association

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

April 26, 2018

ALAN CRANCER PLAINTIFF
v.
BEAR CREEK WATER ASSOCIATION AND HOPE POOLE DEFENDANTS

          ORDER

          DANIEL P. JORDAN, III CHIEF UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.

         Plaintiff Alan Crancer seeks summary judgment [38] on Defendant Hope Poole's counterclaim. For the reasons that follow, Crancer's motion is granted.

         I. Background

         This case concerns flood damage to Crancer's house that occurred after Poole signed a contingent contract to purchase the home. The water service to the home had been disconnected at some point, but Poole needed it turned back on for the home inspection. Poole contacted Defendant Bear Creek Water Association ("Bear Creek") to restore the service, and, predictably, the house flooded. Poole then withdrew her offer to purchase citing "a foundation issue with the house." Poole Dep. [50-2] at 27.

         Based on these events, Crancer sued both Bear Creek and Poole. Compl. [1]. Poole then responded with an Answer/Counterclaim against Crancer, saying his negligence and breach of contract prevented her from purchasing the house. Answer/Countercl. [21] ¶¶ 7-10. Crancer now seeks summary judgment regarding the counterclaim. Pl.'s Mot. [38]. The issues have been briefed, and the Court has subject-matter and personal jurisdiction.

         II. Standard

         Summary judgment is warranted under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 56(a) when evidence reveals no genuine dispute regarding any material fact and that the moving party is entitled to judgment as a matter of law. The rule "mandates the entry of summary judgment, after adequate time for discovery and upon motion, against a party who fails 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 Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 322 (1986).

         III. Analysis

         As a threshold matter, the parties' summary-judgment briefs offer conflicting views of Poole's counterclaim. Poole pleaded her claims as follows:

5. Pursuant to said "RISK OF LOSS" provision, Crancer specifically assumed the risk of any loss to the Property occurring prior to any closing under said Contract and had a duty to Poole to secure and maintain, at all times prior to closing, proper insurance against fire and extended coverage risks.[1]
6. Said Contract, under the provision entitled "PROPERTY CONDITION, INSPECTION AND ACCEPTANCE OF PROPERTY, " contained Crancer's promise and obligation to deliver the Property in good repair at the time of closing. Crancer owed to Poole a duty to deliver said Property to Poole at closing, together with all improvements, in as good a condition at closing as they were on April 1, 2016, being the effective date of the Contract.
7. Crancer negligently or willfully failed to perform his obligations under said Contract.
8. Crancer negligently or willfully permitted or caused the Property to suffer water damage on ...

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