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Timber v. Pacific Fibre Products

United States District Court, W.D. Washington, Tacoma

September 24, 2014

BAR T TIMBER, Plaintiff,
v.
PACIFIC FIBRE PRODUCTS, et al., Defendants.

ORDER [Dkt. #s 56, 62, 64, and 67]

RONALD B. LEIGHTON, District Judge.

THIS MATTER is before the court on Defendant Weyerhaeuser's Motion for Summary Judgment [Dkt. #64] and Plaintiff Bar T Timber's Motion to Amend its complaint [Dkt. #56]. Defendant Pacific Fibre has been dismissed with prejudice and its Motion for Summary Judgment [Dkt. #62] is DENIED as moot.

Bar T is a Lewiston, Montana logging company. It agreed to sell, and Weyerhaeuser agreed to buy, its lodgepole pine logs. Bar T loaded its logs on rail cars in Montana and shipped them to Pacific Fibre's Longview, Washington, facility. Pacific Fibre weighed the logs and "chipped" them for Weyerhaeuser. Weyerhaeuser paid Bar T based on the weight of the logs received.

This dispute has, or had, two components: First, Bar T claims[1] that its log shipments weighed more when they were loaded in Montana than they did when they were weighed for payment in Washington, and that the defendants were thus "shorting" it on the shipments. This claim has been abandoned. The second, remaining claim is that Weyerhaeuser breached its agreement to purchase "all of the logs in the pipeline" as of April 25, 2012-approximately 40-60 rail cars worth-causing $86, 400 damages.

Weyerhaeuser's motion is based on its claim that Bar T cannot establish a breach of contract claim because its owner, Dan Tudor, has effectively conceded that Weyerhaeuser did not agree to purchase the disputed logs.

A. Facts

The parties' agreement arose because the Montana mill that previously purchased Bar T's logs closed, and the price of logs (and the cost of shipping) narrowly permitted Bar T to sell its logs to a distant mill and still make a profit. Weyerhaeuser and Bart T negotiated a simple contract, one they renewed and revised twice. This dispute arises from the "quantity" term in the final (and only written) contract:

Per our recent conversation, Weyerhaeuser NR Company, Longview, WA agrees to purchase lodgepole pine logs from Bar T Timber as follows:

This agreement is effective August 3, 2011 through December 31, 2011
Purchased volume level is per mutual agreement on a monthly basis.
If this meets with your understanding, please sign both copies of this amendment, return one copy and ...

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