Searching over 5,500,000 cases.

Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

Regions Bank v. Heilbron

United States District Court, N.D. Alabama, Southern Division

May 1, 2017

REGIONS BANK, Plaintiff,
ROY G. HEILBRON, Defendant.



         This case is before the court on Plaintiff's Motion for Summary Judgment. (Doc. # 14). The court advised Defendant, who is appearing pro se, of the summary judgment rules and procedures of this court. (Doc. # 17). Defendant requested additional time to retain counsel and respond to the motion. (Doc. # 20). The court granted Defendant's request and stayed the case for 30 days so that Defendant could hire an attorney. (Doc. # 19). Defendant has not notified the court whether he retained counsel, nor has Defendant substantively responded to Plaintiff's summary judgment motion. On April 5, 2017, the court lifted the stay in this action and directed Defendant to respond to the summary judgment motion by April 25, 2017. (Doc. # 22). Because Defendant has not filed a response to the summary judgment motion, the motion is now under submission. For the reasons outlined below, Plaintiff's motion (Doc. # 14) is due to be granted.

         I. Statement of Facts[1]

         Plaintiff, a bank, issued a business loan with a principal of $228, 622.74 to Defendant, a medical doctor, on April 28, 2015. (Doc. # 16 at 5). Defendant signed a Promissory Note to Plaintiff on that date. (Id. at 8-12). Plaintiff and Defendant also entered into a “Business Loan Agreement” on that date. (Id. at 5, 14-19). Defendant agreed to pay the principal and interest on the loan. (Id. at 5). Also, Defendant consented to pay Plaintiff costs and expenses incurred in collecting any amount he owed to Plaintiff pursuant to the loan agreement, “including reasonable attorneys' fees.” (Id. at 5, 10, 18). The Business Loan Agreement provided that Defendant would enter default if he failed to make any payment at the time it was due. (Id. at 16). Once Defendant entered into default for a failure to pay, Plaintiff had the option to demand immediate payment of all indebtedness. (Id.). As part of the Promissory Note, Defendant submitted to the jurisdiction of any state or federal court in Jefferson County, Alabama (i.e., this court) for any dispute arising out of or relating to the Promissory Note. (Id. at 11).

         Defendant defaulted on the business loan by failing to make payments when they were due. (Id. at 21). In October 2015 and November 2015, Defendant discussed alternative payment schedules with an assistant vice president for Plaintiff. (See Doc. # 20 at 1-5). Plaintiff's counsel sent Defendant a letter on January 27, 2016 and demanded full payment on or before February 8, 2016. (Doc. # 16 at 21). At that time, Defendant owed $228, 622.34 in principal, $6, 048.97 in interest, $62.50 in late fees, and $750.00 in attorneys' fees and costs. (Id.). Defendant has not paid the amount he owes to Plaintiff under the Promissory Note. (Id. at 6).

         Plaintiff has averred that $19, 961.59 of interest accrued on the loan as of January 4, 2017 and that interest has accrued at a rate of $40.32 per day thereafter. (Id.). Plaintiff filed suit in this court in March 2016. (Doc. # 1). Plaintiff alleged that this court possesses diversity jurisdiction over this suit because (a) Plaintiff and Defendant were citizens of different states and (b) the amount Defendant owed on the loan exceeded $75, 000.00. (Id. at ¶¶ 1-3). Defendant answered the complaint and did not contest the court's personal jurisdiction or subject matter jurisdiction over the suit. (Doc. # 6). Defendant admitted that he was a citizen of Florida. (Id. at 1) (admitting the allegations in Paragraph 2 of the Complaint). The court is satisfied that Plaintiff has properly invoked the court's diversity jurisdiction.

         II. Standard of Review

         Under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 56(c), summary judgment is proper “if the pleadings, depositions, answers to interrogatories, and admissions on file, together with the affidavits, if any, show that there is no genuine issue as to any material fact and that the moving party is entitled to judgment as a matter of law.” Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 322 (1986). The party asking for summary judgment always bears the initial responsibility of informing the court of the basis for its motion and identifying those portions of the pleadings or filings which it believes demonstrate the absence of a genuine issue of material fact. Id. at 323. Once the moving party has met its burden, Rule 56(c) requires the non-moving party to go beyond the pleadings and -- by pointing to affidavits, depositions, answers to interrogatories, and/or admissions on file -- designate specific facts showing that there is a genuine issue for trial. Id. at 324.

         When faced with a “properly supported motion for summary judgment, [the non-moving party] must come forward with specific factual evidence, presenting more than mere allegations.” Gargiulo v. G.M. Sales, Inc., 131 F.3d 995, 999 (11th Cir. 1997). Here, Defendant has not responded to the substance of Plaintiff's summary judgment motion and has only contested one non-dispositive fact presented by Plaintiff. (See Doc. # 20). In such a circumstance, the court must review the materials submitted in support of the motion for summary judgment to determine whether summary judgment is warranted. United States v. One Piece of Real Property Located at 5800 Sw. 74th Ave., Miami, Fla., 363 F.3d 1099, 1101-02 (11th Cir. 2004). The court cannot grant a party summary judgment as a matter of default based solely on a non-movant's failure to oppose the motion for summary judgment. Id. at 1101 (“[S]ummary judgment, even when unopposed, can only be entered when appropriate.” (internal quotation marks omitted)).

         The substantive law will identify which facts are material and which are irrelevant. See Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 248 (1986). All reasonable doubts about the facts and all justifiable inferences are resolved in favor of the non-movant. See Allen v. Bd. of Pub. Educ. For Bibb Cty., 495 F.3d 1306, 1314 (11th Cir. 2007); Fitzpatrick v. City of Atlanta, 2 F.3d 1112, 1115 (11th Cir. 1993). A dispute is genuine “if the evidence is such that a reasonable jury could return a verdict for the nonmoving party.” Anderson, 477 U.S. at 248. If the evidence is merely colorable, or is not significantly probative, summary judgment may be granted. See Id. at 249.

         III. Analysis

         Plaintiff seeks summary judgment on a breach of contract claim and an unjust enrichment claim. (See Doc. # 15 at 4-7). Plaintiff also requests an award of reasonable attorneys' fees and costs, pursuant to the Promissory Note and the Business Loan Agreement. (Id. at 7-8). After careful review, and for the reasons explained below, the court concludes that Plaintiff is entitled to summary judgment on its breach of contract claim. However, Plaintiff's unjust enrichment claim is foreclosed by its meritorious breach of contract claim because both claims are based on the same underlying facts and the same loan agreement. Finally, while Plaintiff is entitled to reasonable attorneys' fees and other costs of collection as damages in this suit, Plaintiff has not provided sufficient evidence for the court to determine whether the requested amount of attorneys' fees and expenses is reasonable.

         A. Plaintiff is Due to be Granted Summary Judgment for Breach of Contract

         To show a breach of contract under Alabama law, a plaintiff must show that (1) a valid contract bound the parties, (2) the plaintiff performed under the contract, (3) the defendant failed to perform under the contract, and (4) the plaintiff suffered damages as a result of the non-performance. Reynolds Metals Co. v. Hill, 825 So.2d 100, 105 (Ala. 2002). “A promissory note is a form of contract; therefore, it must be construed under general contract ...

Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.