United States District Court, E.D. Missouri, Eastern Division
[Copyrighted Material Omitted]
Jerry L Stockdall, Christina L Stockdall, Plaintiffs, Counter
Defendants: Michael A. Williams, LEAD ATTORNEY, John Francis
Doyle, WILLIAMS DIRKS, LLC, Kansas City, MO.
Investments, Inc., George Shipman, Tina Shipman, Defendants:
Harold F. Glass, LEAD ATTORNEY, MILLINGTON AND GLASS,
Investments, Inc., Counter Claimant: Harold F. Glass, LEAD
ATTORNEY, MILLINGTON AND GLASS, Springfield, MO.
RICHARD WEBBER, SENIOR UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
matter comes before the Court on Defendant TG Investments,
Inc.'s Motion for Summary Judgment on Count V of the
Amended Complaint [ECF No. 38] and Plaintiffs' Motion for
Summary Judgment on Defendant TG Investments, Inc.'s
Counterclaim [ECF No. 44].
lawsuit originated when Plaintiffs Jerry Stockdall and
Cristina Stockdall (" Plaintiffs" ) filed a
complaint against Defendants TG Investments, Inc., Tina
Shipman, and George Shipman (" Defendants" )
alleging violations of the Fair Labor Standards Act ("
FLSA" ), 29 U.S.C. § 201 et seq, and the
Missouri Minimum Wage Law (" MMWL" ), Mo. Rev.
Stat. § 290.500 et seq, and asserting tort
claims of slander/defamation, and conversion. On October 20,
2014, Defendant TG Investments, Inc. (" TGI" )
filed a Counterclaim against Plaintiffs asserting claims of
conversion and damage to property and business. On November
4, 2014, Plaintiffs filed an Amended Complaint asserting the
same counts as the original complaint and adding a count
against Defendants for FLSA retaliation. Defendants filed an
Amended Counterclaim against Plaintiffs on November 20, 2014,
asserting claims of conversion, unjust enrichment and
restitution, negligence, and tortious interference.
filed its Motion for Summary Judgment on Count V of
Plaintiffs' Amended Complaint asserting Plaintiffs cannot
establish a claim for FLSA retaliation because no retaliatory
action was taken while Plaintiffs were employed, it was
required to assert its counterclaim, and its counterclaim is
not baseless. In Count V of the Amended Complaint, Plaintiffs
allege TGI retaliated against Plaintiffs for filing the
instant lawsuit by asserting baseless counterclaims against
them to deter them from asserting their rights.
Plaintiffs' Motion for Summary Judgment on TGI's
Counterclaim, Plaintiffs assert the counterclaim fails as a
matter of law because TGI has failed to produce sufficient
evidence to satisfy the elements of the various claims. In
Count I of TGI's Counterclaim, TGI alleges Plaintiffs are
liable for conversion because Mr. Stockdall took possession
of cash from hotel guests and kept the money rather than
accounting to TGI for the amount. In Count II, TGI alleges
Plaintiffs were unjustly enriched by keeping money guests
paid for hotel rooms and failing to account to TGI for the
amount. In Count III, TGI alleges Plaintiffs were negligent
by damaging furniture, furnishings and fixtures in the hotel
rooms they stayed in while managers of the hotel. In Count
IV, TGI alleges Plaintiffs tortuously interfered with ongoing
guests and customers who would otherwise have stayed at the
hotel by stealing money guests paid for hotel rooms and by
allowing drug users to occupy and use hotel rooms. The
undisputed facts are as follows.
Chateau Inn and Suites (" Chateau" ) is a hotel
located in Cuba, Missouri. TGI is a Missouri corporation that
operates the Chateau, which is owned by Colonial Corporation.
George Shipman is TGI's president and runs its day-to-day
operations. Tina Shipman is George Shipman's
daughter-in-law. Ms. Shipman did a variety of tasks for Mr.
Shipman, similar to that of a personal assistant. Beginning
May 2, 2013, the Stockdalls were hired as " live-in
managers" of the Chateau. On January 3, 2014, Ms.
Shipman terminated the Stockdalls'
employment. Upon termination, the Stockdalls moved
out of the hotel.
this termination, Ms. Shipman filed a police report accusing
the Stockdalls of stealing money from the Chateau. On or
about January 30, 2014, the Stockdalls voluntarily went to
the Cuba Police Department to discuss Ms. Shipman's theft
accusation with the investigating officer, Detective Mike
Sherman. The Stockdalls reported to police they allowed Tina
Shedd, her husband and two children, to stay in the hotel for
several months without paying. The Stockdalls also let Mr.
Stockdall's mother-in-law and a child stay in the hotel
three or four times without paying. They have not been
contacted by the Cuba Police Department since that day. They
have not been charged with any crime since they were accused
by Ms. Shipman.
Stockdalls were terminated on January 3, 2014, four days
prior to the day they allegedly rented a room to Shirely Reid
Stevens and stole her cash payment. Nick Gabriella took over
as manager of the Chateau after the Stockdalls were
terminated. Mr. Gabriella worked the front desk of the
Chateau on January 7, 2014, the day Ms. Stevens paid for a
Stockdalls occupied two rooms in the hotel while they were
employed. Mr. Shipman asserts Mr. Gabriella took pictures of
the rooms before the Stockdalls occupied the rooms and after
they occupied the rooms but they have not been produced.
There are no documents, such as checks, ledgers, or anything
else, showing payments made to make repairs to the room.
There is no documentation of costs associated with painting
the Stockdalls' room. There is no evidence the Stockdalls
did drugs on the property beyond that of employees'
rumors. The names of the two companies who
allegedly stopped patronizing the Chateau due to the
Stockdalls' alleged drug activity are unknown to
shall grant a motion for summary judgment only if the moving
party shows " there is no genuine dispute as to any
material fact and that the movant is entitled to a judgment
as a matter of law." Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(a); see
Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 322, 106
S.Ct. 2548, 91 L.Ed.2d 265 (1986). By definition, material
facts " might affect the outcome of the suit under the
governing law," and a genuine dispute of material fact
is one " such that a reasonable jury could return a
verdict for the nonmoving party." Anderson v.
Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 248, 106 S.Ct. 2505,
91 L.Ed.2d 202 (1986). If the non-moving party has failed to
" make a showing sufficient to establish the existence
of an element essential to that party's
case, . . . there can be 'no genuine issue as to any
material fact,' since a complete failure of proof
concerning an essential element of the non-moving party's
case necessarily renders all other ...