United States District Court, D. South Dakota, Southern Division
ORDER DENYING MOTION FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT
E. SCHREIER, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
Continental Resources, Inc., moves for summary judgment.
Plaintiff, Jerry Janvrin, d/b/a J&J Trucking, resists the
motion. For the following reasons, the court denies the
facts, viewed in the light most favorable to Janvrin, the
non-moving party, are as follows:
Janvrin is a resident of Harding County, South Dakota. He
owns J&J Trucking, a business that provides hauling
services in South Dakota, North Dakota, and Montana.
Continental is an Oklahoma corporation with its principal
place of business in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. It is an oil
and gas exploration company that, among other locations, is
registered to do business in South Dakota. Continental has
oil wells located near Buffalo, South Dakota, which is
located in Harding County.
CTAP, Inc., is a supplier of pipeline, casings, tubing, and
other goods used by oil and gas companies. It is based in
Lafayette, Colorado, and maintains supply yards in Utah,
Colorado, Montana, Ohio, and North Dakota. Continental is a
major customer of CTAP. CTAP employs its own haulers to
deliver oilfield material to its customers’ oil well
locations. CTAP also hires independent contractors to haul
oilfield materials when CTAP does not have enough of its own
employees to make the deliveries.
maintains a list of the independent contractors who are
qualified by CTAP to deliver loads to its customers. Janvrin
began hauling oilfield materials as an independent contractor
with CTAP in 2010, and he obtained approval to haul oilfield
materials from any of CTAP’s supply yards. Janvrin
primarily hauled pipeline from CTAP’s supply yards in
Bowman, North Dakota, and Glendive, Montana. Some of the
shipments hauled by Janvrin were destined for delivery to
did not initially have a written agreement with CTAP for the
provision of his services. At some point, however, Janvrin
and CTAP began executing contracts on a yearly basis. CTAP
and Janvrin executed their most recent contract on December
February 20, 2014, an article appeared in a Harding County
newspaper. See Docket 16-7. The article was titled,
“Pickup and Cows Collide with Dire Results.” The
pickup was owned by Continental and driven by a Continental
employee named Jess Wammen. The pickup collided with two cows
on a county road north of Buffalo. The cows belonged to David
Niemi. Janvrin’s sister, Roxie, is married to Niemi.
Janvrin operates J&J Trucking out of his home, which is
located on the Clarkson Ranch. The Clarkson Ranch is situated
along the same county road as the Niemi property. A comment
attributed to Janvrin appeared in the newspaper article.
Janvrin expressed his belief that many drivers on the county
road drive too fast for the road’s conditions. Janvrin
did not, however, refer specifically to Continental.
Carlson is an area supervisor for Continental. His office is
located in Harding County. He read the newspaper article and
discussed it with Peter MacIntyre. MacIntyre is an engineer
with Continental for its Buffalo district. Carlson felt that
Janvrin’s comments were inappropriate. He equated
Janvrin’s actions to “biting the hand the feeds
you.” Docket 16-2 at 5. Carlson informed MacIntyre that
he did not want Janvrin’s trucking company doing
business in the Buffalo district.
eventually spoke with Ollis Anderson. Anderson is the
director of Continental’s supply chain management. His
duties include obtaining supplies and materials necessary for
some of Continental’s oil and gas operations. The
newspaper article was brought to his attention by MacIntyre.
MacIntyre and Anderson discussed how Continental was having
problems with the Niemis, the Clarksons, and the Janvrins.
MacIntyre informed Anderson that he would prefer if Janvrin
did not make deliveries to Continental’s well locations
in South Dakota.
called Michael “Stoney” McCarrell about a week
later to facilitate MacIntyre’s request. McCarrell is a
senior vice president of CTAP’s operations, quality
control, and technical sales. He oversees aspects of
CTAP’s business at CTAP’s supply yards. Although
McCarrell did not decide which independent contractors would
be added to CTAP’s approved list, he testified that he
had the authority to order the removal of an independent
contractor from the list.
asked McCarrell to no longer allow Janvrin to deliver to
Continental. McCarrell responded affirmatively. McCarrell
then called Ron Spidahl, the CTAP yard manager in Bowman,
North Dakota. McCarrell told Spidahl to remove Janvrin from
CTAP’s list of approved independent contractors for
CTAP’s Bowman yard. Spidahl recalled that
“Continental is the number one customer [for
CTAP]” with “the biggest account” in the
Bakken Formation and that CTAP “did everything for
Continental.” Docket 16-6 at 4. Spidahl complied with
McCarrell’s request, and informed Janvrin that he could
no longer haul materials for CTAP.
testified that he had received periodic business from CTAP
prior to being notified that he would no longer be hauling
materials for the company. He explained that the frequency of
CTAP’s requests depended on a number of factors: the
amount of drilling activity at the time, the availability of
CTAP drivers, and competition from other independent
contractors. Janvrin testified that, nonetheless, CTAP
brought in a fairly consistent level of business over the
last few years.
filed suit in state court alleging one claim for tortious
interference with a business relationship. See
Docket 1-3 (complaint). Continental removed the action to
this court on August 11, 2014. Docket 1. Jurisdiction is
premised on diversity of citizenship.
judgment on all or part of a claim is appropriate when the
movant “shows that there is no genuine dispute as to
any material fact and the movant is entitled to judgment as a
matter of law.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(a); see also In re
Craig, 144 F.3d 593, 595 (8th Cir. 1998). The moving
party can meet its burden by presenting evidence that there
is no dispute of material fact or that the nonmoving party
has not presented evidence to support an element of its case
on which it bears the ultimate burden of proof. Celotex
Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 322-23 (1986). Once the
moving party has met this burden, “[t]he nonmoving
party may not ‘rest on mere allegations or denials, but
must demonstrate on the record the existence of specific
facts which create a genuine issue for trial.’ ”
Mosley v. City of Northwoods, Mo., 415 F.3d 908, 910
(8th Cir. 2005) (quoting Krenik v. Cty. of Le Sueur,
47 F.3d 953, 957 (8th Cir. 1995)). “Further, ‘the
mere existence of some alleged factual dispute between the
parties is not sufficient by itself to deny summary judgment.
. . . Instead, the dispute must be outcome determinative
under prevailing law.’ ” Id. (quoting
Get Away Club, Inc. v. Coleman, 969 F.2d 664, 666
(8th Cir. 1992)). The facts, and inferences drawn from those
facts, are “viewed in the light most favorable to the
party opposing the motion” for summary judgment.
Matsushita Elec. Indus. Co., Ltd. v. Zenith Radio
Corp., 475 U.S. 574, 587 (1986) (quoting United
States v. Diebold, Inc., 369 U.S. 654, 655 (1962)).
addition to the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, this court
has adopted local rules in civil cases that are binding on
the parties. Braxton v. Bi-State Dev. Agency, 728
F.2d 1105, 1107 (8th Cir. 1984) (“Rules of practice
adopted by United States District Courts have the force and
effect of law.”). Local Rule 56.1 is the local rule
governing motions for summary judgment. See D.S.D.
Civ. LR 56.1. The purpose of local rules like Local Rule 56.1
“is to distill to a manageable volume the matters that
must be reviewed by a court undertaking to decide whether a
genuine issue of fact exists for trial. [They are] designed
‘to prevent a district court from engaging in the
proverbial search for a needle in the haystack.’
” Jones v. United Parcel Serv., Inc., 461 F.3d
982, 990 (8th Cir. 2006) (discussing W.D. Mo. LR 56.1(a))
(quoting Nw. Bank & Trust Co. v. First Ill. Nat'l
Bank, 354 F.3d 721, 725 (8th Cir. 2003)). And “the
application of local rules is a matter peculiarly within the
district court's province.” Yannacopoulos v.
Gen. Dynamics Corp., 75 F.3d 1298, 1305 (8th Cir.1996)
(internal quotations and citation omitted). Thus, the court
is vested with a large measure of discretion in applying its
local rules. Silberstein v. IRS, 16 F.3d 858, 860
(8th Cir. 1994).