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Nationwide Mutual Insurance Co. v. BridgeStreet Corporate Housing LLC

October 5, 2010

NATIONWIDE MUTUAL INS. CO., PLAINTIFF,
v.
BRIDGESTREET CORPORATE HOUSING LLC, DEFENDANT/THIRD PARTY PLAINTIFF,
v.
HELMSBRISCOE PERFORMANCE GROUP, INC., THIRD PARTY DEFENDANT



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Algenon L. Marbley United States District Judge

JUDGE MARBLEY

Magistrate Judge Kemp

OPINION & ORDER

I. INTRODUCTION

This matter is before the Court on Third Party Defendant HelsmBriscoe Performance Group, Inc.'s ("HelmsBriscoe") Motion to Dismiss the Amended Third Party Complaint (Doc. 35). For the reasons set forth below, HelmsBriscoe's Motion is DENIED.

II. BACKGROUND

Nationwide Mutual Insurance Company ("Nationwide") provides various insurance products, including products protecting against property damage resulting from natural disasters. As part of those services, Nationwide dispatches a disaster response team to affected areas following hurricanes and other natural disasters. The disaster response team, known as the Nationwide Catastrophe Team ("NATCAT"), helps with cleanup and rebuilding, and it provides necessary services to Nationwide customers affected by the natural disasters.

BridgeStreet Corporate Housing LLC ("BridgeStreet") provides reservations for extended stay apartments and condominiums to corporate clients. In December 2004, NATCAT began using BridgeStreet's services to lease temporary housing for NATCAT team members dispatched to natural disaster areas. NATCAT worked with BridgeStreet on multiple occasions between 2004 and 2007.

HelmsBriscoe is a third party reservation vendor that Nationwide contracted to secure NATCAT's temporary housing needs. As housing needs arose, NATCAT contacted HelmsBriscoe to make necessary reservations on its behalf, and HelmsBriscoe then contacted BridgeStreet to obtain information regarding pricing and availability in the relevant locations. BridgeStreet provided the information to HelmsBriscoe, and HelmsBriscoe passed the information on to Nationwide for a final decision. If Nationwide approved the transaction, HelmsBriscoe contacted BridgeStreet to request a written contract and any necessary leases. BridgeStreet would then send its standard contract and any necessary leases to HelmsBriscoe to be signed by a Nationwide representative.

In anticipation of the arrival of Hurricane Rita in September 2005, Nationwide asked HelmsBriscoe to locate several hundred apartments and condominiums throughout Texas. On September 22, 2005, HelmsBriscoe requested that BridgeStreet locate fifty to one hundred condominiums in Houston, Texas. That same day, BridgeStreet responded with a quote for fifteen to twenty units available at $111 per night for a one bedroom or $129 per night for a two bedroom. HelmsBriscoe forwarded the quote to Nationwide for approval, noting that in order to obtain that price, Nationwide would have to commit to six month lease on the condos. Later on the same day, HelmsBriscoe responded to BridgeStreet, asking several follow-up questions and requesting that BridgeStreet send the relevant contracts to be signed by Nationwide.

On September 23, 2005, BridgeStreet responded to HelmsBriscoe's questions. BridgeStreet did not, however, send any contracts to be signed by Nationwide. On the same day, HelmsBriscoe informed BridgeStreet that Nationwide thought the quoted prices were too high and asked if any lower priced rooms were available. BridgeStreet responded with a quote for one bedroom apartments outside Houston for $99 per night with a nine-month lease.

On September 26, 2005, when it became clear that Hurricane Rita would not be as destructive as anticipated, HelmsBriscoe informed BridgeStreet's sales representative, Mindy Pauley, that Nationwide would not need any condos in Houston.

BrideStreet did not inform Nationwide that BridgeStreet had reserved any condos on Nationwide's behalf. Four months later, however, Nationwide received a bill showing that its corporate credit card had been charged $204,111.00 for condos in Houston reserved from September 28, 2005 to December 31, 2005. The invoice indicated that BridgeStreet had leased nineteen units in Houston on Nationwide's behalf at daily rates of $117 and $135 per night.

On September 18, 2009, Nationwide filed a Complaint in the Franklin County Court of Common Pleas against BridgeStree Corporate Housing, LLC; BridgeStreet Midwest, LLC; and BridgeStreet Ohio, LLC, alleging breach of contract, conversion, breach of fiduciary duty, and negligence. On October 26, 2009, Bridgestreet removed the case to this Court. On November 12, 2009, Bridgestreet filed a Third Party Complaint, which it amended on March 22, 2010. The Amended Third Party Complaint alleged negligent misrepresentation, breach of an oral commission agreement, unjust enrichment, and implied indemnity. HelmsBriscoe filed a Motion to Dismiss the Amended Third Party ...


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