Posts tagged "Benchmark"

Gowen v. Benchmark Senior Living LLC (Lawyers Weekly No. 12-057-17)

COMMONWEALTH OF MASSACHUSETTS SUFFOLK, ss. SUPERIOR COURT. 1684CV03972-BLS2 ____________________ ADRIENNE GOWEN, through her legal guardian Scott Gowen and on behalf of herself and all others similarly situated v. BENCHMARK SENIOR LIVING LLC ____________________ MEMORANDUM AND ORDER DENYING CROSS-MOTIONS TO DISMISS Adrienne Gowen lives in an assisted living facility that is now managed by Benchmark Senior Living LLC. Gowen claims that Benchmark’s predecessor assessed and collected some unlawful charges when Gowen first moved in. Benchmark, in turn, claims that Gowen has failed to pay what she owes for living in the Benchmark facility and receiving assisted-living services from Benchmark. Gowen alleges that Benchmark’s predecessor violated Massachusetts residential landlord/tenant law in two ways: by charging her a $ 2500 “community fee” at the inception of her lease even though such a fee is not authorized by G.L. c. 186, § 15B(1)(b); and by charging $ 5500 for last month’s rent that in realty was a security deposit, and not complying with the legal requirements for assessing a security deposit (such as holding it in a separate interest-bearing account and paying Gowen interest on her deposit each year). Gowen alleges that Benchmark is liable for prior and ongoing misconduct with respect to each of these two charges. She asserts claims for violations of G.L. c. 186, § 15B, and G.L. c. 93A and for negligent misrepresentation, intentional fraud, and unjust enrichment. Benchmark alleges that Gowen and her guardian have failed to pay what they owe for Gowen’s residency and the services she has been receiving at the facility. Benchmark asserts counterclaims for breach of contract and unjust enrichment. Both sides have moved to dismiss all claims and counterclaims against them under Mass. R. Civ. P. 12(b)(6). The Court will allow Benchmark’s motion in part with respect to Gowen’s claim under G.L. c. 93A concerning the “community fee” and with respect to all of her claims for negligent misrepresentation and intentional fraud. It will deny the rest of Benchmark’s motion. It will also deny Gowen’s motion to dismiss the counterclaims against her. – 2 – 1. Legal Standards. To survive a motion to dismiss under Rule 12(b)(6), a complaint must allege facts that, if true, would “plausibly suggest[] … an entitlement to relief.” Lopez v. Commonwealth, 463 Mass. 696, 701 (2012), quoting Iannacchino v. Ford Motor Co., 451 Mass. 623, 636 (2008), and Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 557 (2007). For the purpose of deciding the pending motions to dismiss, the Court must assume that the factual allegations in the complaint and any reasonable inferences that may be drawn in Plaintiffs’ favor from the facts alleged are true. See Golchin v. Liberty Mut. Ins. Co., 460 Mass. 222, 223 (2011). In […]

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Posted by Massachusetts Legal Resources - June 1, 2017 at 1:44 pm

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Suffolk Construction Company, Inc. v. Benchmark Mechanical Systems, Inc., et al. (Lawyers Weekly No. 12-045-17)

COMMONWEALTH OF MASSACHUSETTS SUFFOLK, ss. SUPERIOR COURT. 1384CV01463-BLS2 ____________________ SUFFOLK CONSTRUCTION COMPANY, INC. v. BENCHMARK MECHANICAL SYSTEMS, INC. and READING CO-OPERATIVE BANK ____________________ MEMORANDUM AND ORDER ALLOWING PLAINTIFF’S MOTION FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT This case arises from Suffolk Construction Company’s mistaken payment of monies to Benchmark Mechanical Systems rather than to Benchmark’s lender, Reading Co-Operative Bank. Suffolk had hired Benchmark as a subcontractor on a large construction project. Benchmark secured a line of credit by assigning to the Bank all money that Benchmark stood to collect from Suffolk under its subcontract. Suffolk mistakenly made payments totaling $ 3,822,500.49 to Benchmark instead of to the Bank. Benchmark held and spent those monies, rather than forward them to the Bank. After Benchmark went out of business, the Bank sued Suffolk. The Supreme Judicial Court ordered Suffolk to pay the Bank the full amount it should have paid under Benchmark’s assignment. See Reading Co-Operative Bank v. Suffolk Constr. Co., 464 Mass. 543, 557 (2013). With statutory interest included, Suffolk paid the Bank a judgment totaling $ 7,640,907.45. Suffolk brought this action seeking to recover the surplus held by the Bank that was left after the Bank deducted its reasonable costs of collection and the principal and interest owed by Benchmark from the amount paid by Suffolk. In addition, Suffolk asserted common law claims against Benchmark seeking to recover the $ 3,822,500.49 in subcontract payments that Suffolk was compelled to pay a second time to the Bank. The Supreme Judicial Court recently held that Suffolk had stated viable claims against the Bank, but that its claims against Benchmark are barred by the applicable statute of limitations. See Suffolk Constr. Co. v. Benchmark Mechanical Systems, Inc., 475 Mass. 150 (2016). Suffolk now moves for summary judgment as to its right to collect the surplus of roughly $ 1.35 million being held by the Bank. The Court will ALLOW this motion. – 2 – This resolves all remaining claims. Suffolk and the Bank report that they have settled Suffolk’s claim that the Bank’s costs of collection were unreasonable, and that this settlement will take effect if the Court were to rule (as it does) that Suffolk is entitled to receive the full surplus amount that the Bank owes to Benchmark. The SJC has held that under the circumstances of this case Suffolk is entitled to equitable subrogation as against Benchmark, meaning that it may “stand in Benchmark’s shoes as to the surplus” held by the Bank. Suffolk Constr., 475 Mass. at 156. This holding is the law of the case, is binding on all parties, and may not be reconsidered now that the case has been remanded to the Superior Court. See City Coal Co. of Springfield, […]

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Posted by Massachusetts Legal Resources - April 26, 2017 at 7:04 pm

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Suffolk Construction Company, Inc. v. Benchmark Mechanical Systems, Inc., et al. (Lawyers Weekly No. 10-125-16)

NOTICE:  All slip opinions and orders are subject to formal revision and are superseded by the advance sheets and bound volumes of the Official Reports.  If you find a typographical error or other formal error, please notify the Reporter of Decisions, Supreme Judicial Court, John Adams Courthouse, 1 Pemberton Square, Suite 2500, Boston, MA, 02108-1750; (617) 557-1030; SJCReporter@sjc.state.ma.us   SJC-12020   SUFFOLK CONSTRUCTION COMPANY, INC.  vs.  BENCHMARK MECHANICAL SYSTEMS, INC., & another.[1]       Suffolk.     May 2, 2016. – August 12, 2016.   Present:  Gants, C.J., Spina, Botsford, Duffly, Lenk, & Hines, JJ.[2]       Uniform Commercial Code, Secured creditor.  Practice, Civil, Motion to dismiss, Summary judgment, Statute of limitations.  Subrogation.  Indemnity.  Unjust Enrichment.  Restitution.  Limitations, Statute of.       Civil action commenced in the Superior Court Department on April 22, 2013.   A motion to dismiss was heard by Christine M. Roach, J.; a motion for judgment on the pleadings was heard by her; cross motions for summary judgment were heard by Janet L. Sanders, J.; and entry of separate and final judgment was ordered by Sanders, J.   The Supreme Judicial Court granted an application for direct appellate review.     Robert Popeo (Paul J. Ricotta with him) for the plaintiff. Mark W. Corner (Peter H. Sutton with him) for Benchmark Mechanical Systems, Inc. Eric P. Magnuson (Nelson G. Apjohn with him) for Reading Co-Operative Bank.     SPINA, J.  In Reading Co-Operative Bank v. Suffolk Constr. Co., 464 Mass. 543, 551 (2013) (Suffolk I), we held that “G. L. c. 106, §§  9-405, 9-607, and 9-608, provide a comprehensive scheme” that allowed Reading Co-Operative Bank (bank) to require Suffolk Construction Company, Inc. (Suffolk), to fully perform its obligations under a collateral assignment of payments under a subcontract between Suffolk and Benchmark Mechanical Systems, Inc. (Benchmark), to secure a debt owed by Benchmark to the bank even if the value of the collateral exceeded the amount owed to the bank.  After that decision, Suffolk commenced this action to recover the surplus that resulted after the bank applied that collateral to satisfy Benchmark’s debt, plus costs of collection, pursuant to G. L. c. 106, §  9-608.[3]  Suffolk’s equitable claims for implied subrogation and implied indemnification were dismissed under Mass. R. Civ. P. 12 (b) (6) and 12 (c), 365 Mass. 754 (1974).  Its common-law claims were dismissed as time-barred under Mass. R. Civ. P. 56, 365 Mass. 824 (1974).  Suffolk appealed, and we granted its application for direct appellate review.  We now hold that Suffolk’s common-law claims are time barred, but it has stated equitable claims to prevent unjust enrichment and a windfall for which relief can be granted. Background.  The following facts, taken mostly from Suffolk I, are undisputed.  Benchmark assigned […]

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Posted by Massachusetts Legal Resources - August 13, 2016 at 2:08 am

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