United States District Court, E.D. Missouri, Southeastern Division
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
STEPHEN N LIMBAUGH, JR UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
matter is before the Court on the defendant's motion for
summary judgment (#25). After an extended briefing schedule,
this matter is ripe for disposition.
following facts are undisputed except where indicated.
Chris Williams d/b/a Cane Creek Sod is a company that
supplies, grows, and delivers sod. Defendant Medalist, Inc.
is a golf course builder that specializes in building
high-end golf courses. Medalist agreed to build the Gary
Player Design Golf Course at Big Cedar Lodge (the
“Project”) for Ozarks Golf and Hunt Club, LLC
(“Ozarks Golf”). Medalist's project manager,
Todd Tilton, solicited sod bids for the Project. Tilton told
plaintiff's farmhand, Mark Woodard, that the sod was for
use on a high-end golf course for a very important client.
Plaintiff submitted a bid to provide Meyer Zoysia sod for the
Project. At the time of the bid, around 2015-2016, plaintiff
had approximately 65 acres of Meyer Zoysia sod, which had
been planted in 2000. On January 2016, Tilton informed
Woodard that plaintiff was “in the driver's seat
with regard to the Zoysia” and that as long as the
owner's director of agronomy approves of the sod,
“then it looks good for you.” Tilton also
informed Woodward that the Project owner's director of
agronomy would likely want to visit the farm and inspect the
February 23 and 24, 2016, plaintiff and Medalist executed a
Grass Supplier Agreement (the “Agreement”)
regarding the Project. Plaintiff understood that he
guaranteed that the sod would be of a quality that satisfied
the customer and that the quantity in the Agreement was an
estimate and that Medalist could use less Meyer Zoysia sod on
the Project. Specifically, plaintiff “acknowledges that
its customer, defendant, had the right to inspect and reject
sod per the Grass Supplier Agreement and Missouri
statutes.” (#32 at 2.) Medalist made no payment to
plaintiff in connection with the Agreement. The estimated
quantity of sod in the Agreement was 21 acres.
Bohn is the director of agronomy for Big Cedar Lodge. Bohn
holds a bachelor's degree in golf course management and
was previously employed as golf course superintendent two
other golf courses. Bohn oversees Big Cedar Lodge's golf
properties with regard to golf turf maintenance and
construction; he also oversees construction for Ozarks Golf
and was given authority to act on behalf of Ozarks Golf as it
related to the Project. At the relevant time, Jeff Lezon was
superintendent of the Project. Around July 7, 2016, and at
Bohn's instruction, Lezon visited plaintiff's farm on
behalf of Ozarks Golf. Lezon inspected plaintiff's Meyer
Zoysia sod accompanied by Woodard, plaintiff's farm
manager. Woodard showed Lezon the 45-acre field of Meyer
Zoysia that plaintiff identified as the field from which sod
would be harvested for the Project. Lezon inspected and took
photographs of the sod and sent the photographs and feedback
regarding the sod to Bohn. Bohn concluded that the sod did
not meet the quality standards required for the Project and
instructed Medalist to reject plaintiff's sod. On July
14, Medalist informed plaintiff that it rejected
plaintiff's Meyer Zoysia sod.
did not harvest any Meyer Zoysia sod for the Project and did
not deliver any Meyer Zoysia sod to Medalist in connection
with the Agreement. Medalist did not submit a written order
for delivery for the sod for the Project. Instead, Medalist
obtained the sod it needed for the Project from another sod
denies that its sod was of inferior quality, as evidenced by
inspections by third parties, including routine periodic
inspections by the Missouri Department of Agriculture.
filed this lawsuit against Medalist seeking damages for
breach of contract and promissory estoppel. Medalist has
moved for summary judgment on both claims.
to Rule 56(c), a district court may grant a motion for
summary judgment if all of the information before the court
demonstrates that “there is no genuine issue as to
material fact and the moving party is entitled to judgment as
a matter of law.” Poller v. Columbia Broadcasting
System, Inc., 368 U.S. 464, 467 (1962). The burden is on
the moving party. Mt. Pleasant, 838 F.2d at 273.
After the moving party discharges this burden, the nonmoving
party must do more than show that there is some doubt as to
the facts. Matsushita Elec. Industrial Co. v. Zenith
Radio Corp., 475 U.S. 574, 586 (1986). Instead, the
nonmoving party bears the burden of setting forth specific
facts showing that there is sufficient evidence in its favor
to allow a jury to return a verdict for it. Anderson v.
Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 249 (1986);
Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 324 (1986).
ruling on a motion for summary judgment, the court must
review the facts in a light most favorable to the party
opposing the motion and give that party the benefit of any
inferences that logically can be drawn from those facts.
Buller v. Buechler, 706 F.2d 844, 846 (8th Cir.
1983). The Court is required to resolve all conflicts of
evidence in favor of the nonmoving party. Robert Johnson
Grain Co. v. Chem. Interchange Co., 541 F.2d 207, 210
(8th Cir. 1976). With these principles in mind, the Court
turns to the discussion.