United States District Court, D. Minnesota
Michael R. Cunningham, Esq., Amy E. Erickson, Esq. and Gray
Plant Mooty, counsel for plaintiff.
B. Schneider, Esq., William M. Hogg, Esq. and Schneider
Wallace Cottrell Konecky Wotkyns LLP, counsel for defendant.
S. Doty, Judge
matter is before the court upon the motion for partial
summary judgment by defendant Schneider Wallace Cottrell
Konecky Wotkyns LLP (Schneider Wallace). Based on a review of
the file, record, and proceedings herein, and for the
following reasons, the motion is granted in part.
business dispute arises out of Schneider Wallace's
alleged failure to pay plaintiff Rust Consulting, Inc. (Rust)
for services rendered, and Rust's alleged failure to
adequately render those services. The dispute centers on a
mass tort litigation project that the parties worked on
together from 2011-2014 (the Project).
a Minnesota corporation specializing in consulting,
call-center, data management, claims administration, and
settlement services. Compl. ¶ 1; see also Supp.
Blake Aff., ECF No. 80, ¶ 6. Schneider Wallace is a
California law firm that represents consumers in mass tort
cases involving defective medical devices and pharmaceutical
products. Compl. ¶ 2; Supp. Blake Aff. ¶ 6.
Master Services Agreement
early 2011, Schneider Wallace decided to expand its mass tort
practice. Supp. Blake Aff. ¶ 4. Schneider Wallace asked
Rust to provide selected client services related to that
effort, and claims that Rust represented that it had
substantial experience working on mass tort
cases. Id. ¶ 6; see also
T. Schneider Decl. ¶ 5. There is some dispute as to the
accuracy of Rust's representation.
early 2011, the parties drafted a Master Services Agreement
(MSA), which incorporated a Statement of Work, to govern
their rights and obligations with respect to the
Project. Blake Aff., ECF No. 21-1, ¶ 6. In the
Statement of Work, Rust agreed to provide, among other
things: client consulting services; call center services and
scripting; training and staffing services; client website and
portal design; data services; customized reporting; client
notifications; document capture; settlement distribution and
tax services; and lien resolution services. Blake Aff. Ex. A
App'x A at 1-2. Schneider Wallace, in turn, agreed to pay
Rust $2, 500 for each resolved claim and to pay hourly fees
for certain services. Id. at 7-8. The Statement of
Work establishes criteria to determine when a claim is
resolved and requires that Schneider Wallace notify Rust
within thirty days of such resolution. Id. The
Project was expected to last four years and apply to 3, 000
or more cases. Id. at 7.
March 2, 2011, Steven Stein executed the MSA and Statement of
Work for Schneider Wallace. Id. ¶ 7; see
also Holland Aff. ¶ 9; Ex. 4. It appears that Rust
did not sign the MSA or Statement of Work. Holland Dep. at
19:23-20:4; see also Blake Aff. Ex. A at 2;
App'x A-1; Holland Aff. Ex. 4.
record shows that the first case under the Project began in
May of 2011. Supp. Blake Aff. ¶ 9. Rust started billing
Schneider Wallace for its work in the spring of 2012. Holland
Aff. Ex. 2. On November 12, 2013, Todd Schneider, a Schneider
Wallace partner, sent an email asking Rust to send him a copy
of “our contract” so he would not have to find it
in his file. Holland Aff. Ex. 5 at 3. In response, Rust
indicated that it had an unsigned MSA and Statement of Work.
Id. at 2. Todd Schneider did not respond to
Rust's disclosure. See id. At no time before
this litigation, did Schneider Wallace claim that the MSA or
Statement of Work were not effective or binding on the
asserts that it provided adequate services under the MSA and
maintained, among other things, a claims call-center, intake
services, consulting, data management services, form
processing, and reporting services for the
Project. Supp. Blake Aff. ¶¶ 18-21. It
also asserts ...