United States District Court, E.D. Michigan, Northern Division
ORDER GRANTING IN PART AND DENYING IN PART
PLAINTIFF'S MOTION FOR JUDGMENT ON THE PLEADINGS,
GRANTING DEFENDANTS' MOTION TO AMEND THEIR ANSWER, AND
DIRECTING ITS FILING
L. Ludington United States District Judge.
PetroJebla, SA de C.V. (“PetroJebla”) is a
Mexican corporation with its principal place of business in
Mexico City, Mexico. ECF No. 1. at PageID.2. On May 16, 2019,
PetroJebla filed a complaint against three defendants: Betron
Enterprises, Inc. (“BEI”), Betron LP Gas, Inc.
(“BLPG”), and Richard E. Betron (“Mr.
to PetroJebla's complaint, BEI and BLPG are Michigan
corporations with their principal places of business in
Twining, Michigan. Id. at PageID.3. PetroJebla's
complaint does not furnish any other information regarding
the corporations besides the fact that PetroJebla entered
into a contract with BEI in which BEI agreed to sell
PetroJebla specific quantities of liquid propane gas. The
Complaint also alleges that Defendant Richard E. Betron is
the “sole principal” of BEI and BLPG and that he
resides in Twining, Michigan. Id.
were issued for BEI, BLPG, and Mr. Betron. ECF Nos. 2, 3, 4.
A week later, three separate certificates of service were
returned executed respectively for BEI, BLPG, and Mr. Betron.
ECF Nos. 7, 8, 9.
alleges that it “entered into a contract for the
purchase of liquid propane gas, purportedly from
‘BETRON ENTERPRISE.'” ECF No. 1 at PageID.3.
The contract provides in its entirety:
TO: GRUPO JEBLA, SA de CV. Eduardo Cardenas June 28, 2017
FROM: BETRON ENTERPRISE Richard E. Betron President 3303 West
River Road Sanford Michigan 48657 USA
Full corporate offer to sell/purchase HD propane distillate
for 9 months, July 2017 through April 2018 with rolls and
Origin: Houston, 50 rail car loads 30, 500 gallons each
refinery is offering the following:
• Product: HD-5 Propane
• Quantity: 50 tank cars per month
• Volume: 1, 525, 000 gallons per month total
• Delivery period: Monthly quantity basis, weekly
• Price: Mont Belvieu non tet $.09 cents. This Price
includes the railroad Freight price up to Estation Ramirez,
• Pricing period: July 2017 through 2018
• Vessel acceptance: Vessel to be first class bulk rail
A. Rail cars delivery to Matamoros, Mexico
B. Rail cars proceed-customs & delivery to certified
terminal (storage) facility in Matamoros, Mexico
C. PetroJebla will only pay for the fee for the Texas
forwarding agency, the Mexican Customs broker and all
corresponding Mexican customs duties.
D. PETROJEBLA SA DE CV has 7 days to unload each railcar once
places it at the Matamoros facilities. After that, the
demurrage charge per day is $75 dlls
• Unloading rate: Based on 15 rail cars per week
• Quality: According to the attached specifications
• Law: American Law
• Settlement: American Courts
• Payment terms: Wire transfer amount weekly in advance
• Delivery Dated: Pending schedule from Betron
• Bank wiring instructions:
Betron LP Gas Chemical Bank Midlan [sic], Ml 48640 ABA:
0724100143 Account Number: 1208206376
Seller: Richard E. Betron Jr. 3303 West Rd. Sanford, MI 48657
ECF No. 1-2 at PageID.16-17. The contract is signed by
“Richard Betron, President, BETRON ENTERPRISE”
and “Eduardo Cardenas, GRUPO JEBLA.”
2017, PetroJebla made a payment to the “Betron LP Gas
Chemical Bank” account identified in the
contract. Id. According to the complaint,
“Defendants shipped propane gas to PetroJebla beginning
on or about July 17, 2017.” Id. On October 17
and 18 of 2017, PetroJebla wired $624, 000.00 to the bank
account identified in the contract. ECF Nos. 1-3, 1-4. The
complaint provides that “Defendants continued shipping
propane gas to PetroJebla until early November 2017, at which
point all shipments ceased. At that time, Defendants held
$209, 460 in prepayments for propane gas that had not been
later, on November 8, 2018, PetroJebla's counsel sent
Defendants a letter providing that “[y]ou are currently
wrongfully holding Grupo Jebla funds in the amount of $209,
000, which places you in clear breach of the contract.”
ECF No. 1-6. PetroJebla demanded that Defendant
“immediately reimburse the full sum of $209, 000”
or risk the initiation of legal action. Mr. Betron told
PetroJebla that he was willing to deliver the propane gas
that PetroJebla had paid for. ECF No. 1 at PageID.5. However,
according to PetroJebla, it never received the propane gas or
the funds. On May 16, 2019, it filed its complaint against
Defendants alleging breach of contract.
5, 2019, Mr. Betron filed an answer to the complaint pro se.
ECF No. 11. The next week, the Court issued an order
directing BEI and BLPG to obtain counsel. ECF No. 12. The
Court explained that Mr. Betron could not represent BEI and
BLPG because incorporated entities may not proceed without
legal counsel. Id. On June 28, 2019, David L. Powers
filed an appearance on behalf of Mr. Betron, BEI, and BLPG.
ECF No. 13.
3, 2019, PetroJebla filed a motion for judgment on the
pleadings, contending that the corporate veils of BEI and
BLPG should be pierced to find Mr. Betron personally liable
for the alleged breach of contract. ECF No. 14. On July 19,
2019, Defendants filed a motion to amend their answer,
Richard Betron is not an attorney and is not informed
regarding the rules of practice of this Court. As a result,
the answer is incomplete, and failed to respond to the
allegations of paragraphs 24-56 of Plaintiff's complaint,
including Plaintiff's conclusory allegations aimed at
piercing the corporate veil of the Defendant corporations.
ECF No. 17 at PageID.100-101. Defendants' motion to amend
their answer will be granted and PetroJebla's motion for
a judgment on the pleadings will be granted in part. ...