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J. Lee Browning Belize Trust v. Lynton

United States District Court, D. Colorado

January 11, 2019

J. LEE BROWNING BELIZE TRUST, Plaintiff,
v.
BRUCE LYNTON, STEVE DAUBENMIER, and DONALD MILLER, Defendants.

          MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER

          Nina Y. Wang United States Magistrate Judge

         This matter is before the court on Defendants Bruce Lynton, Steve Daubenmier, and Donald Miller's (collectively, “Defendants”) Motion for Summary Judgment (or “Motion”), filed September 4, 2018. [#56].[1] This civil action was referred to the undersigned Magistrate Judge to fully preside over for all purposes. See [#29; #30]; 28 U.S.C. § 636(c); Fed.R.Civ.P. 73; D.C.COLO.LCivR 72.2. The court concludes that oral argument will not materially assist in the resolution of this Motion. Accordingly, upon review of the Motion and associated briefing, the entire case file, and applicable case law, the court GRANTS the Motion for Summary Judgment.

         MATERIAL FACTS

         The court draws the following material facts from the record before it; these material facts are undisputed for purposes of the instant Motion.

         1. In June 2014, Plaintiff J. Lee Browning Belize Trust (“Plaintiff” or “Belize Trust”) owned a condominium unit (the “Unit”) with the legal description of: Condominium Unit 1-A, Aspen Inn Apartments, Now known as Aspen Mountain Condominiums according to the Map thereof recorded November 30, 1972 in Plat Book 4 at Page 332 as Reception No. 155597 and as further defined and described in Condominium Declaration for Aspen Inn Apartments recorded November 30, 1972 in Book 269 at Page 312 as Reception No. 155596. See [#38 at ¶ 15, #56-2; #61; #70 at ¶ 1].

         2. At all times relevant hereto, Bruce Lynton, Steve Daubenmier, and Donald Miller have served as members of the Board of Directors of the Aspen Mountain Condominium Association (“AMCA”). See [#38 at ¶ 5; #48 at ¶ 5; #70 at ¶ 3].

         3. The AMCA is the homeowner's association for the Aspen Mountain Condominiums. See [#38 at ¶ 4; #48 at ¶ 4; #70 at ¶ 4].

         4. At all times relevant hereto, Aspen Resort Accommodations has served as the property management company for the AMCA. See [#70 at ¶ 5].

         5. On or about June 6, 2014, a plumbing system back-up occurred at the Unit, causing damage to the Unit that Plaintiff remediated; this was the fourth alleged back-up. See [#38 at ¶¶ 3, 16; #48 at ¶¶ 3, 16; #70 at ¶ 2; #71-3 at 9-10, 12, 15].

         6. Sometime following the June 2014 sewage back-up, Plaintiff intended to list the Unit for sale, see [#38 at ¶ 19], and then listed the Unit for $1, 425, 000, see [#61].

         7. On May 4, 2015, Plaintiff initiated a civil action in the United States District Court for the District of Colorado against AMCA, seeking damages from AMCA for the sewage backups under a strict liability theory. See J. Lee Browning Belize Trust v. Aspen Mountain Condominium Association, Inc., Civil Action No. 15-cv-00945-NYW [ECF No. 1]. On June 23, 2017, the undersigned granted summary judgment in favor of AMCA because Plaintiff failed to identify and prove a cognizable claim against AMCA, see Id. at [ECF No. 85]; judgment entered in favor AMCA and against Plaintiff on June 27, 2017, see Id. at [ECF No. 86]. No. appeal was taken.

         8. On August 17, 2016, Plaintiff initiated the instant action against Defendants, asserting that Defendants, as officers of the AMCA, breached their fiduciary duties owed to Plaintiff by “deliberately fail[ing] and refus[ing] to make a definitive repair” to the sewage disposal and drain line(s) that are the alleged cause of the sewage back-ups and for tortuously interfering with Plaintiff's contracted-for services of Roto-Rooter Plumbing & Drain Service to remediate the sewage back-up-all for Defendants' individual economic self-interests. See [#38 at ¶¶ 6-7, 11-14, 23-24, 31-42, 51-53].[2] Though styled as claims, Belize Trust seeks injunctive relief in the form of requiring AMCA to repair the sewage disposal and drain line(s); compensatory damages for the costs of repairing the sewage disposal and drain line(s), the costs for “temporary lodging, temporary repairs[, ] and other expenses caused by the June 2014 blockage and backup, ” and for loss of fair market value of the Unit in an amount no less than $500, 000; and exemplary damages. See [id. at ¶¶ 47-55].

         9. In or around June 2018, Plaintiff sold the Unit to a third party for $1, 250, 000. See [#56-2].

         LEGAL ...


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