Apr 3, 2017

Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals Affirms Dismissal of Breach of Contract Action on Venue and Statute of Limitations Grounds

On May 22, 2017, the United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit affirmed a decision by the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Kentucky dismissing a breach of contract/accounts against the firm’s client, Cintas Corporation on statute of limitations grounds.

Plaintiff originally brought suit in New York state court against Cintas in 2015, alleging breach of contract, account stated, and other related claims for damages in excess of $1 million. The claims arose out of transactions for the sale of goods in June, 2010 through December, 2010. We then removed on diversity grounds to the Southern District of New York. Thereafter, we moved to transfer venue, which was granted, and the case was transferred to the Eastern District of Kentucky, the district in which the facility was located and the goods were delivered. Upon transfer, we then moved to dismiss on statute of limitations grounds, arguing that New York’s four-year statute of limitations applied rather than Kentucky’s five-year statute of limitations. The district court agreed that New York’s shorter statute of limitations applied.

In its opinion, the Sixth Circuit agreed with the district court that, stating that since venue was proper in New York originally, the only instrument through which the case could have been transferred to Kentucky was 28 U.S.C. § 1404. As the Court noted, the case falls “not on the law of contracts but on the law of venue.” Accordingly, New York’s shorter four-year statute of limitations applied. The Sixth Circuit observed that the plaintiff, in originally bringing the case in New York, “made its bed” there and “now it must lie in it, statute of limitations and all.” The Court agreed with Ford Marrin and recognized that New York’s statute of limitations travels with the case and therefore operated to dismiss all claims asserted in the complaint.

The Ford Marrin team consisted of Partners Edward M. Pinter and Jon R. Grabowski and associate Janine Balzofiore. The case is K-Tex, LLC v. Cintas Corporation, No. 16-6435 (6th Cir.).


By, Edward M. Pinter