United States District Court, W.D. North Carolina, Asheville Division
MEMORANDUM OF DECISION AND ORDER
MARTIN REIDINGER, District Judge.
THIS MATTER is before the Court on the Plaintiff's Motion for Partial Summary Judgment as to Count VII of the Amended Complaint [Doc. 70].
I. PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND
The Plaintiff The Wellness Group, LLC ("TWG") initiated this action on September 10, 2012 against the Defendant King Bio, Inc. ("King Bio") and its corporate officers for claims arising out of the alleged breach of the parties' Sales Management Agreement (SMA). In addition to its claims relating to the breach of the SMA, TWG seeks a declaratory judgment that the non-compete provision of the Non-Competition and Non-Disclosure Agreement entered into between TWG's principal Michael Lupacchini ("Lupacchini") and King Bio on February 23, 2012 is invalid and unenforceable because it lacks consideration and also because it is overly broad. [Doc. 45].
TWG now seeks summary judgment on this declaratory judgment claim. [Doc. 70]. King Bio opposes the motion, arguing inter alia that no actual controversy exists to support a claim under the Declaratory Judgment Act. King Bio further argues that the Agreement is supported by consideration and that it includes reasonable restrictions necessary to protect King Bio's legitimate business interests. [Doc. 94].
Having been fully briefed and argued, this matter is now ripe for review.
II. STANDARD OF REVIEW
Summary judgment is proper "if the movant shows that there is no genuine dispute as to any material fact and the movant is entitled to judgment as a matter of law." Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(a). A fact is "material" if it "might affect the outcome of the case." News and Observer Pub. Co. v. Raleigh-Durham Airport Auth. , 597 F.3d 570, 576 (4th Cir. 2010). A "genuine dispute" exists "if the evidence is such that a reasonable jury could return a verdict for the nonmoving party." Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc. , 477 U.S. 242, 248 (1986).
A party asserting that a fact cannot be genuinely disputed must support its assertion with citations to the record. Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(c)(1). "Regardless of whether he may ultimately be responsible for proof and persuasion, the party seeking summary judgment bears an initial burden of demonstrating the absence of a genuine issue of material fact." Bouchat v. Baltimore Ravens Football Club, Inc. , 346 F.3d 514, 522 (4th Cir. 2003). If this showing is made, the burden then shifts to the non-moving party who must convince the Court that a triable issue does exist. Id.
In considering the facts for the purposes of a summary judgment motion, the Court must view the pleadings and materials presented in the light most favorable to the nonmoving party and must draw all reasonable inferences in the nonmoving party's favor. Adams v. Trustees of the Univ. of N.C. -Wilmington , 640 F.3d 550, 556 (4th Cir. 2011).
III. FACTUAL BACKGROUND
TWG is a limited liability corporation organized and existing under the laws of the State of Pennsylvania with its principal place of business in Virginia. TWG is a sales management company that helps launch and manage product lines for consumer product companies through a network of broker representatives in the United States and Canada. Lupacchini is the founder and member of TWG and assumed primary responsibility for the business relationship with King Bio. [Amended Complaint, Doc. 45 at ¶ 6].
King Bio is a corporation organized and existing under the laws of the State of North Carolina with its principal place of business in Asheville, North Carolina. King Bio is an FDA-registered pharmaceutical manufacturing company engaged in the research, development, and sale of homeopathic medicines. [Id. at ¶ 7; Answer, Doc. 56 at ¶ 7].
On November 22, 2011, King Bio and TWG entered into a Sales Management Agreement ("SMA") regarding the launch and management of King Bio's Food Drug and Mass. market ("FDM") business. Specifically, TWG agreed to act as a "national sales manager" for King Bio and develop its FDM ...