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The Defendants’ Perspective


The Defendants’ Perspective

Ronan’s Answer and Counterclaim



TO: Marcia Losordo Associate

FROM: Arthur Ackerman

RE: Answer and counterclaim in Schulansky v. Ronan U.S. District Court No. 2011-6719

DATE: December 28, 2011


Thank you for your informative memo and removal documents in this case. I have filed the notice of removal today and notified the plaintiff and the state court, so we are officially in federal court.

I have decided to file an answer to the complaint (instead of a Rule 12(b) motion) and would appreciate your assistance in drafting it. I realize that you have not yet had any Christmas vacation, but as your memo indicates, we are under the gun because Fed. R. Civ. P. 81(c)(2)(C) requires us to respond to the complaint within seven days of removing the case.

Not surprisingly, Dick Ronan’s version of the facts in this case differs significantly from the allegations in Schulansky’s complaint. First of all, although there was some discussion about the old foundation during their negotiations, Ronan’s position is that he never assumed responsibility for any extensive reconstruction work. He never said anything about rebuilding the foundation, except that he doubted it would be necessary. He did say he would pour cement into any gaps in the exposed boulders but definitely did not agree to anything more than that. He points out that reconstructing the foundation on a house that old is a very substantial job; he could never have quoted her the price he did if such reconstruction were included in the work.

 Second, according to Ronan, he and Schulansky discussed the problem again after the old foundation had been exposed. She asked him whether it ought to be rebuilt, and Ronan said that he did not think it was necessary and that it was beyond the scope of the contract. He specifically recalls telling her at that time that he thought the foundation would be sufficient if he filled in the gaps with concrete, but “you can never be 100 percent sure old houses are unpredictable.” She agreed to his suggestion, and that is what he did.

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