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Wilson v. UTC Laboratories LLC

United States District Court, D. Rhode Island

November 14, 2017




         Pending before the Court is the Second Motion for Summary Judgment filed pursuant to Fed.R.Civ.P. 56 by Defendant UTC Laboratories, LLC d/b/a Renaissance RX (“Renaissance RX”). (ECF Doc. No. 60). Plaintiff Dr. Scott Wilson filed an Objection. (ECF Doc. No. 65). This matter has been referred to me for preliminary review, findings and recommended disposition. 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1)(B); LR Cv 72(a). After reviewing the Memoranda submitted and relevant case law, I recommend that Renaissance RX's Second Motion for Summary Judgment (ECF Doc. No. 60) be GRANTED.


         Chief Judge William E. Smith previously dismissed Syntactx LLC as a Defendant in this case and narrowed the remaining claims to a single Count (Count IV) against Renaissance RX. This Motion focuses solely on whether there is a trialworthy issue concerning Plaintiff's allegation that Renaissance RX violated R.I. Gen. Laws § 9-1-28.1(a)(2). Specifically, Renaissance RX now sets forth a legal argument that Count IV fails because Plaintiff has not presented the Court any evidence of “injury.”

         In its Report and Recommendation on the First Motion for Summary Judgment, this Court noted that Renaissance RX based its argument regarding Count IV “solely on its position that Plaintiff agreed or consented to act as an RPI.” (ECF Doc. No. 50 at p. 12). Because Renaissance RX did not argue the damages issue, the Court considered only the question of whether Dr. Wilson consented to serve as an RPI. Finding an issue of fact that precluded entry of judgment, I recommended denial of the Motion for Summary Judgment as to Count IV and Renaissance RX objected. In its Objection before Chief Judge Smith, Renaissance RX argued that Count IV should be dismissed because Plaintiff had not presented evidence of damages. Chief Judge Smith declined to consider their argument because it was not presented to me in the first instance. Following Chief Judge Smith's Memorandum and Order, Renaissance RX moved for Leave to File this Second Motion for Summary Judgment which was granted by Chief Judge William E. Smith.


         In connection with this Motion, Renaissance RX submitted its Statement of Undisputed Facts, as required by Local Rule. The facts underlying the claims in this matter were fully set forth in connection with the First Summary Judgment Motion. Therefore, the facts submitted by Renaissance RX primarily restate those that were presented in the First Motion for Summary Judgment and rely on affidavits of Brandy Sheely and Kenneth Ouriel, which were submitted to the Court previously. (See ECF Doc. Nos. 22, 24). Rather than rehashing the facts set forth in my previous Report and Recommendation (ECF Doc. No. 50), the Court will narrow in on the facts with respect to Plaintiff's allegations of injury concerning Count IV.

         In its Statement of Facts, Renaissance RX submits that Plaintiff's Responses to Requests for Admission admit he has not been sued as result of the conduct of Renaissance RX (ECF Doc. No. 60-2 at ¶ 22), has not had a judgment rendered against him due to Renaissance RX's conduct, Id. ¶ 23, has not sustained damages as a result of an individual reporting a HIPAA violation, Id. ¶ 25, and that his medical license is in good standing. Id. ¶ 24.

         Plaintiff's Statement of Disputed facts, submitted as required by Local Rule, relies extensively on his Second Declaration for the proposition that the damages he sustained in connection with the violation of R.I. Gen. Laws § 9-1-28.1(a)(2) included the cost of retaining attorneys to assist him while UTC/Syntactx were investigated by “investigators working for the Department of Justice, ” and that he was “not in a position to accept the compensation due pursuant to the Trial and/or Investigator Agreements and therefore lost said profits, ” and that he lost profits when he decided to convey his interest in Partners in Clinical Research. (ECF Doc. No. 66 at p. 3, citing ECF Doc. No. 40 at ¶¶ 52-58).

         Summary Judgment Standard

         A party shall be entitled to summary judgment “if the pleadings, depositions, answers to interrogatories, and admissions on file, together with the affidavits, if any, show that there is no genuine issue as to any material fact and that the moving party is entitled to a judgment as a matter of law.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(c). When deciding a motion for summary judgment, the Court must review the evidence in the light most favorable to the nonmoving party and draw all reasonable inferences in the nonmoving party's favor. Cadle Co. v. Hayes, 116 F.3d 957, 959 (1st Cir. 1997).

         Summary judgment involves shifting burdens between the moving and the nonmoving parties. Initially, the burden requires the moving party to aver “an absence of evidence to support the nonmoving party's case.” Garside v. Osco Drug, Inc., 895 F.2d 46, 48 (1st Cir. 1990) (quoting Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 325 (1986)). Once the moving party meets this burden, the burden falls upon the nonmoving party, who must oppose the motion by presenting facts that show a genuine “trialworthy issue remains.” Cadle, 116 F.3d at 960 (citing Nat'l Amusements, Inc. v. Town of Dedham, 43 F.3d 731, 735 (1st Cir. 1995); Maldonado-Denis v. Castillo-Rodriguez, 23 F.3d 576, 581 (1st Cir. 1994)). An issue of fact is “genuine” if it “may reasonably be resolved in favor of either party.” Id. (citing Maldonado-Denis, 23 F.3d at 581).

         To oppose the motion successfully, the nonmoving party must present affirmative evidence to rebut the motion. See Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 256-257 (1986). “Even in cases where elusive concepts such as motive or intent are at issue, summary judgment may be appropriate if the nonmoving party rests merely upon conclusory allegations, improbable inferences, [or] unsupported speculation.” Medina-Munoz v. R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co., 896 F.2d 5, 8 (1st Cir. 1990). Moreover, the “evidence illustrating the factual controversy cannot be conjectural or problematic; it must have substance in the sense that it limns differing versions of the truth which a factfinder must resolve.” Id. (quoting Mack v. Great Atl. & Pac. Tea Co., 871 F.2d 179, 181 (1st Cir. 1989)). Therefore, to defeat a properly supported motion for summary judgment, the nonmoving party must establish a ...

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