QUALITY CLEANING PRODUCTS R.C., INC.; RAFAEL CORREA, Plaintiffs, Appellants,
SCA TISSUE NORTH AMERICA, LLC, Defendant, Appellee, JOHN DOE; RICHARD ROE, Defendants
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APPEAL FROM THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT FOR THE DISTRICT OF PUERTO RICO. Hon. Carmen Consuelo Cerezo, U.S. District Judge.
Miguel Angel Rangel-Rosas, Jr., with whom Maymi Rivera, LLC was on brief, for appellant.
Alejandro Jose Cepeda-Díaz, with whom Raúl M. Arias and McConnell Valdés LLC were on brief, for appellee.
Before Howard, Chief Judge, Lynch and Thompson, Circuit Judges.
HOWARD, Chief Judge.
Eleven years after Appellee SCA Tissue North America (" SCA" ) allegedly breached its distribution agreement with Appellant Quality Cleaning Products (" QCP" ), QCP filed this breach of contract action. The district court dismissed the action as time-barred under the applicable three-year statute of limitations. Applying Puerto Rico's statute of limitations and accrual rules, as we must when sitting in diversity, we affirm.
SCA manufactures cleaning products and paper goods such as napkins, bath and facial tissue, and liquid soap. In August 1997, QCP entered into a distribution agreement with SCA which designated QCP as a non-exclusive, authorized Puerto Rican distributor and wholesaler of SCA's " Tork" brand product line. QCP agreed that it would not distribute any of SCA's competitors' products and, in return, SCA promised to offer QCP all promotions and discounts that it extended to any other Puerto Rican distributor. QCP claims that SCA breached that agreement in 2001, when SCA agreed to sell its " Tork" products at a reduced rate to a third company, Bunzl/Melissa Sales Corp. (" Bunzl" ), and when it granted Bunzl a five percent discount or profit on every sale of " Tork" products that Bunzl made to other distributors in Puerto Rico.
QCP filed this breach of contract action on December 7, 2012 -- over a decade later. In Puerto Rico, Act 75 governs distribution agreements. See P.R. Laws Ann. tit. 10, § § 278 et seq. SCA moved to dismiss the action as (among other things) time-barred under Act 75's three-year statute of limitations. See id. § 278d. QCP opposed SCA's statute of limitations defense on the sole basis that the " continuing violation" doctrine applied to delay the accrual of its claims. Finding the continuing violation doctrine inapplicable, the district court granted SCA's motion to dismiss. Based on the allegations contained in the complaint, the court concluded that QCP " knew since at least the year 2001" that SCA had engaged in conduct that QCP believed had violated the contract. Seizing on that statement, QCP filed a motion to reconsider. In that motion, and for the ...