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Lance & Linda Neibauer Joint Trust v. Kurgan

United States District Court, D. Oregon

December 16, 2014

THE LANCE AND LINDA NEIBAUER JOINT TRUST, by and through LANCE NEIBAUER, as trustee, Plaintiff,
v.
MICHAEL J. KURGAN, an individual, Defendant

For Lance and Linda Neibauer Joint Trust, an Oregon Trust, by and through Lance Neibauer, as trustee, Plaintiff: Lisa A. Kaner, LEAD ATTORNEY, Emily Teplin Fox, Markowitz Herbold Glade & Mehlhaf, PC, Portland, OR.

Michael J. Kurgan, an individual, Defendant, Pro se, Miami Beach, FL.

ORDER

Michael McShane, United States District Judge.

Plaintiff Lance and Linda Neibauer Joint Trust leased a 2001 Piper Meridian (Aircraft) to defendant Michael Kurgan. The lease ran from September 20, 2013 until March 20, 2014. The lease gave Kurgan the option of buying the Aircraft provided that he notified the Trust of that intention at least 30 days before the end of the Lease. In December 2013, the parties entered into an addendum to the lease, extending it by an additional year if, but only if, Kurgan paid the Trust $96, 000 by March 20, 2014. Kurgan did not pay the Trust any amount towards the $96, 000.

On April 3, 2014, Kurgan proposed returning the Aircraft to the Trust or renting the Aircraft by the hour. The Trust rejected the hourly rental proposal and Kurgan returned the Aircraft on April 5, 2014, 16 days after the termination of the lease. On April 22, 2014, The Trust entered into an Aircraft Purchase Agreement (APA) for sale of the Aircraft to Enertron, Inc. On April 23, 2014, Kurgan attempted to exercise his purchase option. The Trust did not accept Kurgan's offer, as Kurgan's option expired over one month before and because the Trust had the signed APA with Enertron to purchase the Aircraft.

The Trust alleges that Kurgan intentionally interfered with the Trust's agreement to sell the Aircraft to Enertron and breached the original lease agreement. The Trust also asks the court for a declaratory judgment stating that on and after March 20, 2014, Kurgan has no right to purchase the Aircraft.

Kurgan alleges that the Trust breached the lease agreement first. Kurgan also brings counterclaims against the Trust alleging tortious interference, fraud, breach of contract, and breach of implied covenant of good faith and fair dealing.

Because Kurgan clearly breached the lease and then improperly interfered with the Trust's sale of the aircraft with a third party, the Trust's motion for summary judgment is GRANTED. As Kurgan's claims and counterclaims have no basis in fact, law, or equity, Kurgan's motions are DENIED.

STANDARD OF REVIEW

The court must grant summary judgment if there is no genuine issue of material fact and the moving party is entitled to judgment as a matter of law. Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(c). An issue is " genuine" if a reasonable jury could return a verdict in favor of the non-moving party. Rivera v. Phillip Morris, Inc., 395 F.3d 1142, 1146 (9th Cir. 2005) (citing Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 248, 106 S.Ct. 2505, 91 L.Ed.2d 202 (1986)). A fact is " material" if it could affect the outcome of the case. Id. The court reviews evidence and draws inferences in the light most favorable to the non-moving party. Miller v. Glenn Miller Prods., Inc., 454 F.3d 975, 988 (9th Cir. 2006) (quoting Hunt v. Cromartie, 526 U.S. 541, 552, 119 S.Ct. 1545, 143 L.Ed.2d 731 (1999)). When the moving party has met its burden, the non-moving party must present " specific facts showing that there is a genuine issue for trial." Matsushita Elec. Indus. Co. v. Zenith Radio Corp., 475 U.S. 574, 586-87, 106 S.Ct. 1348, 89 L.Ed.2d 538 (quoting Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(e)).

DISCUSSION

I. Breach of Contract

The original Lease signed by Kurgan and the Trust provided for a six month lease term, commencing when Kurgan took possession of the Aircraft following the completion of the hot goods section. Lease, ¶ 1. On September 20, 2013, Kurgan took possession of the Aircraft following completion of the hot goods section. Therefore, the lease term ended on March 20, 2014, six months after September 20, 2013. The lease provided Kurgan the option of purchasing the Aircraft " At any time during the lease term[.]" Lease, ¶ 6. The lease contained the following section titled " END OF LEASE TERM:"

More than 30 days prior to the end of the Lease Term, the Lessee must notify the Owner of his Intentions. At this ...

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