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Noble, et al. v. Collias, et al. (Lawyers Weekly No. 12-160-16)

1 COMMONWEALTH OF MASSACHUSETTS SUFFOLK, ss. SUPERIOR COURT CIVIL ACTION No. 14-3547-BLS 2 GEORGE NOBLE and CHARLES MINASIAN, Plaintiffs vs. CHRISTIAN COLLIAS, JULIE COLLIAS, RICHARD FOSTER, and PROGRESSIVE GOURMET, INC., Defendants MEMORANDUM OF DECISION AND ORDER ON DEFENDANTS’ MOTIONS FOR PARTIAL SUMMARY JUDGMENT The motions before this Court are yet another example of misguided attempts by some members of the business bar to use summary judgment as the vehicle to decide issues which by their nature almost always require resolution at trial. Faced with claims that include elements regarding the defendant’s knowledge and the reasonableness of plaintiff’s reliance – all questions of fact — each of the three individual defendants ask this Court to rule that they are nevertheless entitled to judgment in their favor as a matter of law as to certain counts asserted against them. They do so under the mistaken impression that, if the summary judgment record contains testimony supporting their position, the facts that such testimony concerns are therefore undisputed even though there is circumstantial evidence which would support the contrary position. “The question of whose interpretation of the evidence is more believable…’is not for the court to decide on the basis of [briefs and transcripts] but is for the fact finder after weighing the circumstantial evidence and assessing the credibility of the witnesses.’” Bulwer v. Mt. Auburn Hospital, 473 Mass. 672, 689 (2016), quoting Lipchitz v. Raytheon Co., 434 Mass. 493, 499 (2001). With this in minds, this Court concludes that the summary judgment motions must 2 be DENIED as to all counts to which they pertain, except for two counts which add nothing to plaintiff’s case and are without any legal basis. 1 This case arises from plaintiffs’ purchase of common stock in the defendant Progressive Gourmet Inc. (Progressive), a close corporation, and plaintiff George Noble’s loan to Progressive of $ 300,000. Progressive is not moving for summary judgment. The moving parties are Progressive CEO Richard Foster and two individuals, Christopher Collias (Chris) and his wife Julie Collias (Julie), who hold the majority of shares in the company and together owned one block of stock that was sold to the plaintiffs. Julie is also Progressive’s treasurer and Chris a former CEO in the company. The motions before the Court do not concern the promissory note (Count VI) and are only partially dispositive as to both Chris and Foster. 2 Although the three motions are not identical as to the counts that each of them targets, together they concern the following claims: violation of the Blue Sky Statute, G.L.c. 110A §410 (Section 410) (Count I); fraud (Count II); negligent misrepresentation (Count III), violations of Chapter 93A (Counts IV and V); and unjust enrichment (Count VII). […]

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Posted by Massachusetts Legal Resources - December 7, 2016 at 5:13 am

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