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Murphy v. Rigdon, Inc.

United States District Court, W.D. Missouri, Western Division

February 21, 2018

WILLIAM MURPHY, et al., Plaintiffs,
RIGDON, INC., Defendant.


          NANETTE K. LAUGHREY, United States District Judge

         Defendant Rigdon, Inc. seeks summary judgment on the Murphys' claims under the Missouri Merchandising Practices Act (MMPA). The Motion is granted as to the claim alleging concealment or omissions by Rigdon of the condition of its equipment. It is denied in all other respects.

         I. Background[1]

         In July 2016, Defendant Rigdon washed William and Jeri Murphy's windows at their home in the Village of Lock Lloyd, Missouri. Following the window washing, the Murphys observed numerous scratches on the windows. They have stated under oath that the scratches were not there before Rigdon's employees washed the windows. (Deposition of Jeri Murphy, p. 52:14-19, Exhibit G). Also, at the time of the window washing, Jeri Murphy noticed that one of the Rigdon employees washing the windows had a big ring on, probably the size of a silver dollar. (Deposition of Jeri Murphy pp 42:10 to 44:4, Exhibit G).[2]

         William and Jeri Murphy mutually hired Rigdon to wash the windows, in part because Rigdon had washed their windows on several prior occasions and they had had no problems. Doc. 21-1, p. 1. Jeri Murphy also based her decision on a coupon she had from Rigdon. The coupon offered a 100% guarantee, but she did not use the coupon because Mr. Rigdon offered her a better deal based on their prior work for the Murphys. Mr. Rigdon had also previously told Jeri Murphy his work was 100% guaranteed. (Deposition of Jeri Murphy pp 22:24 to 24:11, Exhibit G). On one prior occasion, Mr. Rigdon made good on his guarantee when there was a problem with the window washing at the Murphy's home. (Deposition of Jeri Murphy pp 27:1 to 28:13, Exhibit G).

         During her deposition, Jeri Murphy did not explicitly say that she did or did not rely on a guarantee, although she was asked several times what led her to hire Mr. Rigdon. However, her affidavit was attached to the Plaintiffs' Opposition to Summary Judgment, and in that affidavit, she said that:

6. The decision William Murphy and I made to hire Rigdon Inc. to clean our windows in 2016 was the result of several factors, which included our long-standing, mostly positive prior relationship with Kerry Rigdon and his company Rigdon, Inc., satisfactory work done by Rigdon before 2016, the reputation of Kerry Rigdon and Rigdon Inc., and Kerry Rigdon and Rigdon Inc.'s guarantees.
7. Defendant's guarantee was the genesis of the many-year business relationship between the Murphys and Rigdon, Inc.; I knew of Kerry Rigdon's guarantee of his company's work; and I relied on his representation that he guaranteed his work in deciding with William Murphy to continue to use Rigdon's window-washing services over the years, including in 2016.
8. Had Kerry Rigdon or Rigdon Inc. (hereinafter ''Rigdon") at any time disavowed Rigdon's guarantee, or told either me or William Murphy that Rigdon did not guarantee its work, William Murphy and I would not have employed Rigdon for our window-washing needs on those occasions in 2016 without additional or different consideration or a written contract, if at all.
9. Neither Kerry Rigdon nor any other employee of Rigdon ever told me or my William [sic] that Rigdon's guarantee was no longer in effect prior to washing our windows on July 5, 2016, or at any time before that.

Doc. 21-1, p. 1.

         On July 21, 2016, Rigdon refused to pay for any of the damage on the Murphy's windows.

         II. Summary Judgment Standards

         “Summary judgment is appropriate when the evidence, viewed in a light most favorable to the nonmoving party, shows no genuine issue of material fact exists and the moving party is entitled to judgment as a matter of law.” Wierman v. Casey's Gen. Stores, 638 F.3d 984, 999 (8th Cir. 2011). The moving party bears the burden of establishing a lack of genuine issue of fact. Brunsting v. Lutsen Mountains Corp., 601 F.3d 813, 820 (8th Cir. 2010). The rule requires summary judgment to be entered “against a party who fails to make a showing sufficient to establish the existence of an element essential to that party's case, and on which that party will bear the burden of proof at trial.” Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 322 (1986). “Summary judgment is to be granted only where the evidence is such that no reasonable jury could return a verdict for the non-moving party.” Smith v. Basin Park Hotel, ...

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