Target granted summary judgment in suit alleging it was misled by contractor hired to build gender neutral bathrooms

By Elizabeth Alt | Jun 7, 2018

FORT MYERS – The U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Florida, Fort Myers Division recently granted Target summary judgment in its case alleging that the president of a contracting company hired to build gender neutral bathrooms misled Target into paying his company instead of a factoring company hired to take payments.

FORT MYERS – The U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Florida, Fort Myers Division recently granted Target summary judgment in its case alleging that the president of a contracting company hired to build gender neutral bathrooms misled Target into paying his company instead of a factoring company hired to take payments.

Senior U.S. District Judge John E. Steele wrote the May 22 order for the Fort Myers court, noting that Prestige Facilities Services Group Inc. President Giuseppe Tromba “has not sought to rectify his failure to respond,” and stated Target “was injured through its justifiable reliance on Tromba’s statement as the president of the company.”

Target hired Prestige to construct gender neutral bathrooms in some of their Minnesota stores, court documents said. Target contacted Tromba by email after Capital Solutions Bancorp LLC, a factoring company, told Target that they, not Prestige, should be receiving the payments from Target. 

Tromba replied that he did not know why Capital Solutions was contacting Target and assured Target that his attorney would contact Capital Solutions to resolve the matter, court documents said. Tromba’s email stated several times that he had no relationship to Capital, saying, “they do not represent my company in any capacity nor provide any services.”

The court order states that Tromba’s wife signed a factoring agreement with Capital, but Tromba said he did not sign any agreement and at the time did not know about the agreement. 

Target paid Prestige $132,319.59 and was then sued by Capital for the amount paid to Prestige, court documents said. Target ultimately paid Capital Solutions the same amount it paid to Prestige to settle the matter, the documents said. 

In 2017, Target sent 17 requests for admission to Prestige. Among the requests was that Prestige admit that they were in a factoring agreement with Capital and that Tromba had authored the email that falsely told Target that payments should be made to Prestige with the intent for Target to pay Prestige instead of Capital Solutions. 

When Tromba failed to respond to Target’s requests, Target filed a complaint for negligent and intentional misrepresentation against Tromba. 

Tromba claimed that because he was acting as an individual on Prestige’s behalf, he “cannot be held individually liable without piercing the corporate veil.” 

Judge Steele rejected Tromba’s argument that he cannot be held liable, and referring to multiple cases, he stated, “A corporate officer or representative of a defendant corporation is not shielded from individual liability for his own torts.”

Steele ruling stated, “Target has established that Tromba authored the emails, knowing that asserting that Prestige had no business with Capital and that Prestige was the rightful payee were false statements. Target has further established that the statements were made with the intent to induce Target to pay Prestige instead.”

The court order granted summary judgment to Target and entered judgment in favor of Target for $132,319.59.

U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Florida, Fort Myers Division, Case Number 2:17-cv-00301-UA-MR

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