United States District Court, D. New Jersey
B. SIMANDLE, U.S. DISTRICT JUDGE
case under the Petroleum Marketing Practices Act, 15 U.S.C.
§ 2801-2841 (“PMPA”), plaintiff Arfa
Enterprises, a petroleum products distributor
(“ARFA”), sued defendants JK Citgo, LLC and
Hardeep Singh (“Defendants”) for violation of the
PMPA and breach of contract in connection with the operation
of a retail gas service station located at 3034 Route 73
North, Maple Shade, New Jersey (the "Facility”).
principally alleged that Defendants willfully misbranded and
sold motor fuel and made untimely payments in violation of
the PMPA, and that Defendants breached the parties'
contract by purchasing motor fuel from a non-ARFA supplier
while operating under ARFA's Citgo brand.
Court previously convened a hearing on ARFA's motion for
preliminary injunction, which was granted, ordering
Defendants to vacate the Facility, terminating the contracts,
and requiring Defendants to pay the sums owing to ARFA.
[Order for Preliminary Injunction, June 13, 2017 (Docket Item
19)]. Defendants answered the Complaint and the partied
completed pretrial discovery on January 31, 2018. [Docket
Items 30 & 31.]
before the Court is ARFA's motion for summary judgment,
filed February 22, 2018 [Docket Item 32], which is unopposed
UNOPPOSED SUMMARY JUDGMENT MOTION
judgment is appropriate “if the movant shows that there
is no genuine dispute as to any mater8ial fact and that the
movant is entitled to judgment as a matter of law.”
Rule 56(a), Fed.R.Civ.P. The Court must view the evidence in
the summary judgment motion record in favor of the non-moving
party by extending any reasonable favorable inference to that
party, and shall deny the motion if there are “any
genuine factual issues that properly can be resolved only by
a finder of fact because they may reasonably be resolved in
favor of either party.” Anderson v. Liberty Lobby,
Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 250 (1986). The moving party always
bears the initial burden of showing that the genuine dispute
of material fact exists, regardless of which party ultimately
has the burden of persuasion at trial. Celotex Corp. v.
Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 323 (1986). “Where, as in
the present case, the Plaintiff's motion for summary
judgment is unopposed, the Court nonetheless has the duty to
ascertain whether the movant's evidence is sufficiently
probative and consistent to form the basis of a reasonable
factfinder entering a verdict in Plaintiff's favor under
the applicable principles of law.” TCG Insurance
Co. v. Privilege Care Marketing, Inc., 2005 WL 9944581
at *2 (D.N.J. Apr. 27, 2005). Under Rule 56(e), Fed. R. Civ.
P., if a party “fails to properly address another
party's assertion of fact as required by Rule 56(c), the
court may... (3) grant summary judgment if the motion and
supporting materials -- including the facts considered
undisputed -- show that the movant is entitled to it...,
” Rule 56(c)(3), Fed. R. Civ. P.
where, as here, the movant has properly documented its motion
in a Statement of Material Facts not in Dispute
(“SMF”) as required by L. Civ. R. 56.1(a), if the
opponent fails to file a responsive statement of material
facts, addressing each paragraph of the movant's
statement, “any material fact not disputed shall be
deemed undisputed for purposes of the summary judgment
motion.” Id. The movant's compliance with
L. Civ. R. 56.1(a) has the salutary effect of providing the
explicit evidentiary basis for the granting of its motion
when unaddressed by the opponent, or for substantially
narrowing the facts if only partially addressed. Thus, where
the movant's Local Rule 56.1 statement is properly
supported by citations to the affidavits and other documents
of record, the opponent's failure to file responding
papers may result in the movant's facts being deemed
court, even in this situation, retains the duty to review the
motion and determine whether summary judgment is
“appropriate.” Wells Fargo Bank v.
Bertea, 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 40191 (D.N.J. Mar. 28,
2016); Willow Int'l v. Standard Casing Co., 2013
U.S. Dist. LEXIS 177560 (D.N.J. Dec. 18, 2013).
a motion in which the moving plaintiff has fully supported
its motion by citations to the record for each necessary
fact, tied together not only in its brief but more
importantly in its SMF [Docket Item 32-2]. The SMF cites, on
a fact-by-fact basis, in individual paragraphs, to the
pertinent portions of the accompanying declaration and
Exhibits A-N. These facts, properly supported by citation to
the record, are undisputed. L. Civ. R. 56.1(a). The court has
reviewed, and it hereby adopts, Plaintiff's factual
statements in ¶¶ 1-28 of the SMF [Docket Item
32-2], as if set forth in full herein.
summary, these facts establish that ARFA supplied motor fuel
and motor oil to Defendants who leased the Facility from ARFA
and operated it as a Citgo service station. The relationship
was governed by three contracts detailing their agreement to
lease the retail station and purchase the motor fuel that
Defendants dispensed to retail motorists.
the parties' Dealer Supply Agreement (“DSA”),
¶ 3(a) of the DSA required Defendants to purchase 100%
of the Facility's motor fuel and motor oil requirements
from ARFA. Paragraph 17 of the DSA required all retail motor
fuel advertised or sold at Defendants' Facility to be
sold under the “CITGO” trademarks, and Paragraph
18 of the DSA authorized ARFA to terminate the DSA upon,
inter alia, (1) breach by Defendants of any
provision of the DSA; (2) Defendants' failure to pay ARFA
in full or in a timely manner; or (3) delivery to the
Facility or sales of non-ARFA fuel.
have admitted, and ARFA has proved, that JK Citgo began
purchasing motor fuel from another supplier, and JK Citgo
accepted deliveries of misbranded ...