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Auraria Student Housing at Regency, LLC v. Campus Village Apartments, LLC

United States District Court, D. Colorado

January 22, 2014

AURARIA STUDENT HOUSING AT THE REGENCY, LLC, a Colorado limited liability company, Plaintiff,
v.
CAMPUS VILLAGE APARTMENTS, LLC, a Delaware limited liability company, Defendant.

ORDER DENYING PLAINTIFF'S MOTION FOR PARTIAL SUMMARY JUDGMENT

WILLIAM J. MARTÍNEZ, District Judge.

Plaintiff Auraria Student Housing at the Regency, LLC ("Plaintiff") brings this action against Campus Village Apartments, LLC ("Defendant"). Before this Court is Plaintiff's Early Motion for Partial Summary Judgment of Liability on its conspiracy to monopolize claim ("Motion"). (ECF No. 71.) For the reasons set forth below, Plaintiff's Motion is denied.

I. BACKGROUND

The relevant facts, in the light most favorable to Defendant, the nonmovant, are as follows.

Plaintiff leases and operates an apartment complex in Denver under the trade name The Regency - Auraria's Student Housing Community, LLC (the "Regency.") (ECF No. 72-4 ¶ 3.) The Regency is dedicated to providing off-campus housing for students attending classes on the campus of the Auraria Higher Education Center campus ("Auraria Campus") in Denver. ( Id. ¶ 4.) The Regency is located a few miles away from the Auraria Campus. (ECF Nos. 75 pp. 6, 75-9.)

Defendant is a limited liability company whose sole member is the University of Colorado Real Estate Foundation ("CUREF"). (ECF No. 72-2 ¶ 2.) Defendant owns the Campus Village Apartments, another apartment complex dedicated to providing off-campus housing for students at the Auraria Campus. ( Id. ¶¶ 2, 21.) Campus Village Apartments is located on land adjacent to the Auraria Campus. (ECF No. 72-21 p. 12.)

In response to a 2004 study that found that the Auraria Campus had a housing demand (ECF No. 72-5 p. 3), the University of Colorado Denver ("UCD") approached CUREF to construct student housing on land adjacent to campus. (ECF No. 72-21 p. 12.) CUREF formed Defendant in order to construct the Campus Village Apartments. ( Id. ) In 2004, UCD and CUREF entered into an agreement (the "2004 Agreement") whereby UCD agreed to: (1) assist in marketing the Campus Village Apartments; (2) institute a residency requirement for most full-time domestic freshmen and international students (the "New Students") to live at off-campus housing; (3) "exclusively refer" the New Students to the Campus Village Apartments; and (4) not participate in the development of another student housing project. (ECF No. 72-6 ¶¶ 1, 3, 4.)

In 2005, CUREF assigned the 2004 Agreement to Defendant, and Defendant issued $50.365 million in revenue bonds (the "2005 Bonds") through the Colorado Educational and Cultural Facilities Authority ("CECFA") to fund the construction of the Campus Village Apartments. (ECF Nos. 72-2 ¶¶ 21-25, 72-8.)

The Campus Village Apartments opened for the fall 2006 semester. (ECF No. 80-4 ¶ 3.) In order to minimize Defendant's risks associated with the new housing, UCD instituted a live-in requirement, whereby the New Students were required, during the first two semesters of their enrollment at UCD, to reside at the Campus Village Apartments (the "Residency Requirement"). (ECF Nos. 72-11, 72-21 p. 12.)

In May 2008, UCD, CUREF, and Defendant entered into an operating agreement regarding the Campus Village Apartments (the "2008 Agreement"). (ECF Nos. 72-20, 72-21 p. 5.) Pursuant to the 2008 Agreement, UCD agreed to continue enforcing the Residency Requirement. (ECF No. 72-20 ¶ 2.1.) In return, Defendant gave UCD students placement priority at the Campus Village Apartments with a specific number of beds dedicated each year for UCD students. ( Id. ¶ 2.3.)

In July 2008, Defendant borrowed proceeds from the sale of $54.055 million in bonds issued through CECFA to refinance the 2005 Bonds. (ECF No. 72-21 p. 3.)

During the 2012-2013 academic year, the rental cost for New Students living at the Campus Village Apartments was $7, 390 per academic year, without parking or a meal plan. (ECF No. 72-33 pp.2-3.) During the 2011-2012 academic year, the lowest rental cost for the Regency was $4, 750 per academic year, which included parking but not a meal plan. (ECF No. 72-32 p. 3.) Plaintiff alleges that it has lost business from New Students who would have chosen to live at the Regency if not for the Residency Requirement. (ECF No. 72-4 ¶ 14.)

On these facts, Plaintiff filed this action against Defendant on October 14, 2010. (ECF No. 1.) On February 7, 2011, Plaintiff filed an Amended Complaint alleging four claims for relief: (1) conspiracy to monopolize, in violation of Section 2 of the Sherman Act, 15 U.S.C. § 2; (2) civil conspiracy; (3) interference with prospective business relations; and (4) interference with existing contractual relations. (ECF No. 19 ¶¶ 70-88.)

On May 3, 2013, Plaintiff filed a Motion for Partial Summary Judgment on its first claim (conspiracy to monopolize) pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 56. (ECF No. 71.) On May 28, 2013, Defendant filed its Opposition to Defendant's Motion (ECF No. 75), and Plaintiff filed its Reply Brief in Support of ...


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