SE Property Holdings, LLC v. Ryals et al
ORDER granting Plaintiff's 26 Motion for Summary Judgment on two of its three claims. Because this order does not dispose of Count III (SE Property's claim for an accounting), the court will withhold final judgment until it adjudicates "all the claims and all the parties' rights and liabilities." Fed. R. Civ. P. 54(b). Signed by Judge Callie V. S. Granade on 9/16/2013. (mab)
IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE SOUTHERN DISTRICT OF ALABAMA
SE PROPERTY HOLDINGS,
DONALD STACEY RYALS and
RECOVERY INDUSTRIES, INC.,
Civil No. 12-643-CG-C
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
This matter comes before the court on Plaintiff’s motion for summary
judgment (Doc. 26) on two of its three claims. For reasons that follow, the
motion is due to be granted.
Defendant Donald Stacey Ryals has been in the rental-property
business for over twenty years. Over the course of his career, Ryals has taken
out a number of loans, some in his own name, some in the name of his
company, Defendant Recovery Industries, Inc. (This opinion will refer to
Ryals and Recovery Industries collectively as “Ryals and Co.”) Five of those
loans—three in Ryals’s name and two in Recovery Industries’—came from
Vision Bank, which merged into Plaintiff SE Property Holdings, LLC, last
According to SE Property, all five of those loans are now in default.
Although SE Property has apparently foreclosed on and sold properties
securing those loans, balances remain due. This lawsuit represents SE
Property’s attempt to collect those balances. The matter comes before the
court on SE Property’s motion for summary judgment on its claims for breach
of contract (Counts I and II of the complaint (Doc. 1)).
Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 56(a) provides that summary judgment
shall be granted “if the movant shows that there is no genuine dispute as to
any material fact and that the movant is entitled to judgment as a matter of
law.” The basic issue before the court on a motion for summary judgment is
“whether the evidence presents a sufficient disagreement to require
submission to a jury or whether it is so one-sided that one party must prevail
as a matter of law.” See Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 251–52
On a motion for summary judgment, the movant bears the initial
burden of proving that no genuine issue of material fact exists. O’Ferrell v.
United States, 253 F.3d 1257, 1265 (11th Cir. 2001). In evaluating the
movant’s arguments, the court must view all evidence and resolve all doubts
in the light most favorable to the nonmovant. Burton v. City of Belle Glade,
178 F.3d 1175, 1187 (11th Cir. 1999). “If reasonable minds might differ on
the inferences arising from undisputed facts, then [a court] should deny
summary judgment.” Hinesville Bank v. Pony Exp. Courier Corp., 868 F.2d
1532, 1535 (11th Cir. 1989).
Once the movant satisfies his initial burden under Rule 56(a), the nonmovant must “demonstrate that there is indeed a material issue of fact that
precludes summary judgment.” Clark v. Coats & Clark, Inc., 929 F.2d 604,
608 (11th Cir. 1991). To meet that burden, the nonmovant “may not rely
merely on allegations or denials in its own pleading;” rather, it must, by
affidavits or otherwise, “set out specific facts showing a genuine issue for
trial.” Vega v. Invsco Group, Ltd., 432 F. App’x 867, 870 (11th Cir. 2011).
“Where the record taken as a whole could not lead a rational trier of fact to
find for the [nonmovant], there is no genuine issue for trial.” Matsushita Elec.
Indus. Co., Ltd. v. Zenith Radio Corp., 475 U.S. 574, 587 (1986) (internal
quotation and citation omitted).
Neither Ryals nor Recovery Industries denies that they defaulted on
the loans; nor have they submitted any evidence that casts doubt on SE
Property’s version of the facts. It is also undisputed that Ryals personally
guaranteed the two loans Recovery Industries took out, that SE Property
performed its half of the deal, and that the notes Ryals and Co. executed
allow SE Property to sue for the deficiencies that remain after the foreclosure
sales. In short, the parties agree that Ryals and Recovery Industries are
liable for the balances due on the loans.
There is, however, some dispute over damages. Though SE Property
has submitted an affidavit of an employee who reviewed business records and
determined the amounts due on the loans, Ryals and Co. are unsatisfied.
Specifically, Ryals and Co. insist that the outstanding balances SE Property’s
employee listed did not take into account the proceeds from foreclosure sales
But they lack any evidence to back that claim up. Instead, Ryals and
Co. submit only an affidavit in which Ryals observes that SE Property’s
motion for summary judgment and supporting evidence do not expressly
indicate an offset for the proceeds of the foreclosure sales. (Doc. 30-1 at 2
(“Nowhere in the Plaintiff’s Brief . . . are the sums obtained from [the]
foreclosures applied to the alleged debts owed by the Defendants to the
Plaintiff.”).) Whatever evidentiary value Ryals and Co. would attach to that
affidavit is undercut by the fact that Ryals does not claim any personal
knowledge about the calculations SE Property used to determine the balances
due on the loans; for all he knows, the amounts SE Property claims might be
bottom-line figures that take into account the proceeds of the foreclosure
In fact, that is exactly what they are. Along with its reply brief, SE
Property attached the business records its employee referenced in her
Ryals and Co. do not dispute that SE Property is entitled to recover
attorneys’ fees and costs, which SE Property places at $53,730.76; nor do they
argue that that amount is unreasonable.
affidavit. Those records, which are materially consistent with the evidence
SE Property submitted in support of summary judgment2, confirm that the
amounts SE Property said were due in its motion for summary judgment do
indeed reflect offsets for the proceeds of the foreclosure sales. Because Ryals
and Co.’s evidence does suggest otherwise, they have failed to establish a
genuine issue of material fact on the question of damages.
Accordingly, it is ORDERED that SE Property’s motion for summary
judgment (Doc. 26) is GRANTED.3 Because this order does not dispose of
Count III (SE Property’s claim for an accounting), the court will withhold
final judgment until it adjudicates “all the claims and all the parties’ rights
and liabilities.” Fed. R. Civ. P. 54(b).
DONE and ORDERED this 16th day of September, 2013.
/s/ Callie V.S. Granade
UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
There is one inconsistency between the affidavit and the business records:
the affidavit lists a balance of $13,770.86 on one of Ryals’s loans, while the
record lists a balance of $13,770.85 (Doc. 32-1 at 6). There appears to be a
rounding error on the record (it says 14 and 72 add up to 85), but the court
will give Plaintiff the benefit of that error and reduce SE Property’s award by
The court declines SE Property’s invitation to “specifically state . . . that [SE
Property] is permitted to seek additional fees and costs associated with its
collection efforts should the need arise.” (Doc. 27.) Should the need arise, SE
Property can seek whatever fees it thinks it is entitled to in whatever manner
it deems fit. But the court will not express an opinion on the propriety of an
ill-defined hypothetical scenario,which may never even occur.
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