Court Grants Summary Judgment For Non-Moving Party In Sales Representative Dispute


When deciding whether to file a summary judgment motion, attorneys should be careful to consider the possibility that the court may choose to enter summary judgment in favor of the non-moving party.  This is what recently occurred in Dietrich v. Bell Inc., Case No. 1:11-cv-1145 (W.D. Mich. Jan. 25, 2013)(Neff, J.).

Dietrich moved for summary judgment on his claim for commissions under his contract and under the Michigan Sales Representative Commission Act, MCL 600.2961.  Dietrich's primary argument was that he had procured the customers for which Bell was continuing to make sales after terminating Dietrich as its sales representative.  The court agreed that Dietrich had procured the customers that Bell was selling to; however, there was no evidence that Dietrich had procured the specific sales on which Dietrich was claiming commissions.  The court held that the contract unambiguously provided that Dietrich was to be paid commissions on sales he procured, not customers he procured.

The court chose to grant summary judgment in favor of Bell, the non-moving party.  The court noted that, by filing a motion for summary judgment, "the moving party is considered to have sufficient notice of the imminence of summary judgment in some form."  Op. at 4.  Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 56(f) also gives the court the authority to grant summary judgment in favor of the non-moving party.  This decision reinforces the lesson that attorneys should be thoughtful when asking the court to enter summary judgment; the court just might enter summary judgment against you.


Written by:

Published In:

DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

© Varnum LLP | Attorney Advertising

Don't miss a thing! Build a custom news brief:

Read fresh new writing on compliance, cybersecurity, Dodd-Frank, whistleblowers, social media, hiring & firing, patent reform, the NLRB, Obamacare, the SEC…

…or whatever matters the most to you. Follow authors, firms, and topics on JD Supra.

Create your news brief now - it's free and easy »

All the intelligence you need, in one easy email:

Great! Your first step to building an email digest of JD Supra authors and topics. Log in with LinkedIn so we can start sending your digest...

Sign up for your custom alerts now, using LinkedIn ›

* With LinkedIn, you don't need to create a separate login to manage your free JD Supra account, and we can make suggestions based on your needs and interests. We will not post anything on LinkedIn in your name.