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Accurate Abstracts, LLC v. Havas Edge, LLC

United States District Court, D. New Jersey

July 21, 2014

ACCURATE ABSTRACTS, LLC, Plaintiff,
v.
HAVAS EDGE, LLC, Defendant.

OPINION

MICHAEL A. HAMMER, Magistrate Judge.

I. INTRODUCTION

Presently before the Court is Plaintiff Accurate Abstracts, LLC's ("Accurate") cross-motion to amend its Complaint. See Pl. Cross Mot., D.E. 15. Pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 78 and Local Civil Rule 78.1, the Undersigned did not hear oral argument. For the reasons set forth below, Accurate's motion to amend is granted.

II. BACKGROUND

For purposes of a motion to amend, the Court must accept as true all well pleaded allegations in the proposed amended complaint. Fowler v. UPMC Shadyside, 578 F.3d 203, 210-11 (3d Cir. 2009).

Accurate is a title abstract company. See Prop. Am. Compl., D.E. ¶ 1. Defendant Havas Edge, LLC ("Havas") was formerly known as Euro RSCG Edge LLC. Id . ¶ 5. Accurate wished to redesign its website and entered into a contract with Havas to complete this upgrade in March 2012. Id . ¶¶ 9-11. When it was determined that the website's existing code was poor, Accurate began exploring the possibility of rebuilding the site. Id . ¶¶ 16-17. At a lunch meeting on September 17, 2012 between Havas and Accurate, Havas estimated that the total cost of rebuild would be between $350, 000 and $650, 000 and the cost would likely be closer to $350, 000. Id . ¶¶ 22-23. Additionally, Havas represented that the project would take six to eight months and be completed no later than June 2013. Id . ¶ 24. The "decisive factors" behind Accurate's decision to retain Havas were Havas's promise to control costs and proposed completion date. Id . ¶ 29.

During the last week of September 2012, the parties entered into a "Statement of Work" contract, which is attached to Accurate's Proposed Amended Complaint. Id . ¶ 31. The following provisions are relevant to the pending motion:

• "An Agile development process that is iterative and adaptable will be implemented."
• "Monthly invoices will be submitted for the duration of the project. An initial monthly dollar amount will be used at the start of the project. If that dollar amount is either too great or too small either the resources or dollar amounts invoiced for will be adjusted to more closely align to each other. [Havas] will track time and fees against the project scope on a bi-weekly basis and review with [Accurate]."
• "If the hours dedicated to this project exceed that amount due to any of the following reasons, additional budget may be required... Change in project scope[, ] Change in any project assumption listed above[, and] Addition of out-of-scope elements to the project[.] If a change in scope associated with this SOW is identified or requested, [Havas] will submit a change order to [Accurate] for approval."

See Statement of Work, attached as Ex. A to Prop. Am. Compl., D.E. 15-1. Accurate's monthly payment was originally set at $30, 000. Id . The Court also notes the contract provides that either party may terminate with thirty days' notice, contains an integration clause, and requires that any modification be made in writing. Id. at 5-6.

Accurate's host of allegations against Havas include: Havas failed to manage the project; Havas failed to complete the project; Havas, after entering into the Statement of Work made subsequent oral representations about the project's cost and time-frame; and Havas has refused to provide Accurate with the source code Havas created. See Prop. Am. Compl. ¶¶ 46-11. While Havas has raised a number of challenges to Accurate's reliance on these claims to support a breach of contract claim, Accurate also alleges the following in the Proposed Amended Complaint:

• "... Havas still failed to conduct the regular financial reviews which had been promised. Indeed the bi-weekly tracking of time and fees against project scope and review with ...

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