IBERIABANK v. Previty Surgical PLLC et al
MEMORANDUM AND OPINION entered. For the reasons stated, IBERIABANK' s motion for partial summary judgment, (Docket Entry No. 24), is GRANTED. The defendants' motions to compel arbitration and for a continuance, (Docket Entry No. 28 and Docket Entry No. 29), are DENIED. IBERIABANK may file a motion seeking its fees, with appropriate support, no later than August 25, 2017. (Signed by Chief Judge Lee H Rosenthal) Parties notified. (wbostic, 4)
United States District Court
Southern District of Texas
IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE SOUTHERN DISTRICT OF TEXAS
Previty Surgical PLLC; Previty
Surgical, East, PLLC; Previty Surgical
Assistants, PLLC; Garrett K. Peel,
M.D.; and Mandie Peel,
August 04, 2017
David J. Bradley, Clerk
CIVIL ACTION NO. 4:17-cv-00160
MEMORANDUM AND OPINION
This is a suit to collect amounts due on four promissory notes, three related guaranty
agreements, and one collateral agreement. IBERIABANK, the lender, sued the borrowers and
guarantors. After the deadlines to complete discovery and file dispositive pretrial motions passed,
IBERIABANK moved for partial summary judgment on its claims to recover the unpaid principal
and interest, leaving for later its claims for attorney's fees. The defendants responded by requesting
a continuance to take additional discovery (despite the fact that the discovery period had ended) and
by filing a separate motion to compel arbitration (despite the fact that the dispositive motions
deadline had passed).
Based on the pleadings, the motion and responses, the briefs, the record, and the applicable
law, the court denies the request for a continuance to allow additional discovery before ruling on the
summary judgment motion; denies the motion to compel arbitration; and grants the motion for partial
summary judgment. IBERIABANK may file a motion seeking its fees, with appropriate support,
no later than August 25, 2017. The reasons are set out in detail below.
IBERIABANK' s summary judgment evidence included the promissory notes, the guarantees,
and the collateral agreement at issue. The evidence also included the letter IBERIABANK sent to
Previty Surgical, Previty East, and Dr. Peel notifying them that the notes were in default. Brian
Hamilton, Vice President of Special Assets at IBERIABANK, provided a declaration of the validity
of the promissory note, guarantee, and collateral documents; IBERIABANK's status as owner and
holder ofthese documents; identity ofthe guarantors; failure ofthe defendants to make payment; and
identification of current balances owed as of June 16, 2017.
The evidence of the loan documents and their terms is undisputed. On January 31, 2013,
IBERIABANK loaned $1 ,3 7 5,000 to Previty Surgical and issued a promissory note referred to in this
case as "Previty Surgical Note I." In 2014, the principal amount of the Previty Surgical Note I was
increased to $2,300,000. The Note called for monthly payments of$17,445.32 from February 28,
2013 to February 28, 2014, and after that for monthly payments of$28,3 86.76 from March 28, 2014
to January 28, 2018. The Note defined default to include that the "Borrower fails to make any
payment when due under this Note." Default allows IBERIABANK to declare the entire balance due
immediately. 1 The Previty Surgical Note I was guaranteed by Dr. Peel, Mandie Peel, Previty
Assistants, and Previty East. (Docket Entry No. 24-2).
"Upon default, Lender may declare the entire Indebtedness, including the unpaid principal balance
under this Note, all accrued unpaid interest, and all other amounts, costs and expenses for which Borrower
is responsible under this Note or any other agreement with Lender pertaining to this loan, immediately due,
without notice, and then Borrower will pay that amount." The borrower is also responsible for "reasonable
attorneys' fees" and court costs associated with the lender's enforcement and collection efforts. (Docket
Entry No. 24-2 at 2).
IBERIABANK loaned another $650,000 to Previty Surgical on January 31, 2013 and issued
another promissory note, referred to as "Previty Surgical Note II." This Note was renewed, in the
same amount, on March 20, 2014. The Note required Previty Surgical to make monthly interest
payments beginning on April 20, 2014. The Note matured on March 19, 2015, making the
outstanding principal and accrued unpaid interest due. (Docket Entry No. 24-4). The Previty
Surgical Note II was guaranteed by Previty East, Dr. Peel, and Mandie Peel. (Docket Entry No. 245).
On March 20, 2014, IBERIABANK loaned Previty East $250,000 and issued what is referred
to as the "Previty East Note." The Note required Previty East to make monthly interest payments
beginning on April 20, 2014. The Previty East Note matured on March 15, 2015, and the
outstanding principal and interest became due. (Docket Entry 24-6). The Previty East Note was
guaranteed by Previty Surgical, Dr. Peel, and Previty Assistants. (Docket Entry No. 24-7).
On August 9, 2012, IBERIABANK loaned Garrett Peel $3 60,000 and issued the "Peel Note."
The Note called for monthly interest-only payments from September 8, 2012 to September 9, 2013,
and monthly principal and interest payments of $6,797.29 from September 9, 2013 through August
9, 2018, when the Note was to mature. The default provisions in the Peel Note mirrored those in the
Previty Surgical Note I. If the borrower failed to make any payment when due, the Note was in
default, and IBERIABANK could declare the entire unpaid amount due at that time. (Docket Entry
No. 24-8). A collateral agreement secured the Peel Note with "all interest and income distributions"
that Dr. Peel received from a limited partnership interest he held in the Victory Medical Center
Beaumont, LP. (Docket Entry No. 24-9).
The guaranty agreements signed for the Previty Surgical Note I, Previty Surgical Note II, and
Previty East Note are all in the same form. The guaranty agreements provide that the "Guarantor
absolutely and unconditionally guarantees full and punctual payment and satisfaction oflndebtedness
of Borrower to Lender, and the performance and discharge of all Borrower's obligations under the
Note and the Related Documents," state that the "Lender can enforce the Guaranty against Guarantor
even when Lender has not exhausted Lender's remedies against anyone else obligated to pay the
Indebtedness." (Docket Entry No. 23-4 at 2). The collateral agreement for the Peel Note states that
if"Grantor fails to make any payment when due under the Indebtedness," the "Lender may declare
the entire Indebtedness immediately due and payable, without notice of any kind to Grantor," and
the lender "may collect the payments, rents, income and revenues from the Collateral." (Docket
Entry 24-9 at 5).
On December 22, 2016, IBERIABANK sent a letter to the borrowers, Previty Surgical,
Previty East, and Dr. Peel, notifying them that the Previty Surgical Note I, Previty Surgical Note II,
Previty East Note, and the Peel Note were all in default for the "failure to pay a required monthly
payment when due." The default meant that "all amounts owed under the Promissory Notes are now
due and payable in full." IBERIABANK notified the borrowers that they would also be responsible
for "legal fees and related expenses." IBERIABANK demanded payment of the outstanding
principal, interest, and legal fees by January 6, 2017. (Docket Entry No. 24-10). The amounts due
at this time were:
Previty Surgical Note I
Previty Surgical Note II
Previty East Note
(Docket Entry 24-10 at 3). Previty Surgical, Previty East, and Dr. Peel failed to respond, leading to
this suit. (Docket 24-1
In support of its motion for partial summary judgment, IBERIABANK submitted a
declaration from Brian Hamilton, Vice President, Special Assets for the bank, assigned to collect
distressed assets, including the Notes and guarantee agreements at issue. The declaration set out the
following summary of the unpaid principal and interest amounts on each of the four Notes as of June
Previty Surgical Note I
Previty Surgical Note II
Previty East Note
(Docket Entry 24-1
IBERIABANK requested the following relief in its motion for partial summary judgment:
a) $2,358,948.55 from Previty Surgical on the Previty Surgical Note I and by the
guarantors, Previty Assistants, Dr. Peel, and Mandie Peel, jointly and severally;
b) $813,015.62 from Previty Surgical on Previty Surgical Note II and by the
guarantors, Previty East, Dr. Peel, and Mandie Peel, jointly and severally;
c) $316,480.11 from Previty East on the Previty East Note and by the guarantors, Dr.
Peel, Previty Surgical, and Previty Assistants; and
d) $193,943.23 from Dr. Peel on the Peel Note. (Docket Entry No. 24 at 10-11).
The defendants filed two briefs in response to the motion for partial summary judgment.
First, the defendants filed a motion to compel arbitration, based on arbitration clauses contained in
three of the four promissory notes and the argument that all the claims are related to the same loan
transactions. The defendants asked the court for an order compelling arbitration as to all claims or,
alternatively, on the claims related to the three promissory notes with a stay of the remaining claims
until the arbitration was completed. (Docket Entry No. 28).
Second, they filed a cursory three-page response to the motion for partial summary judgment.
The response did not substantially engage with the plaintiffs motion. The only summary judgment
evidence that the defendants submitted is an affidavit by Garrett Peel. (Docket Entry No. 29-1 ). The
Peel affidavit states in general terms that Peel and Previty made payments on the Notes and that the
"totals stated by" IBERIABANK "in the motion do not appear to give credit for the payments made."
Id But Peel contradicts himselfby stating that he "cannot determine from" IBERIABANK' s motion
"whether any credits or offsets for payments have been applied to the balances," and that he could
not ''tell how the amounts were calculated .... " (/d). The Peel affidavit does not even suggest a
reason for a concern that the total debt does not give credit for payments made.
The defendants also sought a two-week continuance to respond to the motion for partial
summary judgment, in order to take a deposition of Brian Hamilton, the IBERIABANK officer
whose declaration proved up the relevant documents and account balances. The defendants argue
that this deposition would allow them to learn how IBERIABANK calculated the amounts owed.
The defendants also argue that the summary judgment evidence IBERIABANK presented was
insufficient to establish its right to recover the unpaid principal and interest amounts it sought as
actual damages. (Docket Entry No. 29).
The motion for partial summary judgment and the defendants' motion for a continuance and
to compel arbitration are analyzed based on the record evidence and the applicable legal standards.
The Legal Standard for Summary Judgment
"Summary judgment is required when 'the movant shows that there is no genuine dispute as
to any material fact and the movant is entitled to judgment as a matter oflaw. "' Trent v. Wade, 776
F.3d 368, 376 (5th Cir. 2015) (quoting FED. R. CIV. P. 56(a)). "A genuine dispute of material fact
exists when the 'evidence is such that a reasonable jury could return a verdict for the nonmoving
party."' Nola Spice Designs, LLCv. Haydel Enters., Inc.,783 F.3d 527,536 (5th Cir. 2015) (quoting
Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 248 (1986)). "The moving party 'bears the initial
responsibility of informing the district court ofthe basis for its motion, and identifying those portions
of [the record] which it believes demonstrate the absence of a genuine issue of material fact.'" I d.
(quoting EEOC v. LHC Grp., Inc., 773 F.3d 688, 694 (5th Cir. 2014)); see also Celotex Corp. v.
Catrett, 477 U.S. 317,323 (1986).
"Where the non-movant bears the burden of proof at trial, the movant may merely point to
the absence of evidence and thereby shift to the non-movant the burden of demonstrating by
competent summary judgment proof that there is an issue of material fact warranting trial." Id.
(quotation marks omitted); see also Celotex, 477 U.S. at 325. Although the party moving for
summary judgment must demonstrate the absence of a genuine issue of material fact, it does not need
to negate the elements ofthenonmovant's case. Boudreaux v. Swift Transp. Co., 402 F.3d 536,540
(5th Cir. 2005). "A fact is 'material' if its resolution in favor of one party might affect the outcome
of the lawsuit under governing law." Sossamon v. Lone Star State ofTexas, 560 F.3d 316, 326 (5th
Cir. 2009) (quotation omitted). "If the moving party fails to meet [its] initial burden, the motion [for
summary judgment] must be denied, regardless of the nonmovant's response." United States v.
$92,203.00 in US. Currency, 537 F.3d 504,507 (5th Cir. 2008) (quoting Little v. Liquid Air Corp.,
37 F.3d 1069, 1075 (5th Cir. 1994) (en bane)).
"Once the moving party [meets its initial burden], the non-moving party must 'go beyond the
pleadings and by her own affidavits, or by the depositions, answers to interrogatories, and admissions
on file, designate specific facts showing that there is a genuine issue for trial.'" Nola Spice, 783 F .3d
at 536 (quoting EEOC, 773 F.3d at 694). The nonmovant must identify specific evidence in the
record and articulate how that evidence supports that partys claim. Baranowski v. Hart, 486 F.3d
112, 119 (5th Cir. 2007). "This burden will not be satisfied by 'some metaphysical doubt as to the
material facts, by conclusory allegations, by unsubstantiated assertions, or by only a scintilla of
Boudreaux, 402 F.3d at 540 (quoting Little, 37 F.3d at 1075).
In deciding a
summary-judgment motion, the court draws all reasonable inferences in the light most favorable to
the nonmoving party. Connors v. Graves, 538 F.3d 373, 376 (5th Cir. 2008); see also Nola Spice,
783 F.3d at 536.
The Motion to Compel Arbitration
The defendants ask this court to consider a motion to compel arbitration filed on July 7, 2017.
(Docket Entry No. 28). The motion to compel arbitration was filed six months after IBERIABANK
sent the defendants notices of default, and five months after IBERIABANK filed this suit. The
motion was filed three weeks after the dispositive motion deadline of June 16, 2017, and after
IBERIABANK filed its motion for partial summary judgment.
The defendants have failed to explain why they did not move to compel earlier. The motion
to compel was untimely under the court's scheduling order. "While there is a presumption in favor
of arbitration, this presumption does not override the parties' obligation to comply with the
scheduling orders of this court." Hernandez v. Cont'l Am. Corp., 2017 WL 2599120 at *4, n.2
(N.D.Tex. 2017). See FED. R. CIV. P. 16(b)(4) (the court's scheduling order "may be modified only
for good cause and with the judge's consent."). The motion to compel was also filed late in relation
to when the notice of default was sent and when the enforcement and collection action was filed.
Compelling arbitration at this stage would cause undue delay and would unfairly prejudice
IBERIABANK, who has complied with the scheduling order.
Moreover, the defendants have failed to show that they are entitled to the relief they seek.
Two of the four notes, the Previty Surgical Note I and the Peel Note, do not have arbitration clauses.
The original version of the Previty Surgical Note I did have an arbitration provision, but that Note
was amended in March 2014 to both increase the principal amount by approximately one million
dollars and to remove the arbitration clause. (Docket Entry No. 24-2). None of the guarantee
agreements have arbitration clauses. The only Notes that could be subject to arbitration are the
Previty Surgical Note II and the Previty East Note. The defendants' delay in invoking arbitration as
to the amounts owing under these Notes, violating the scheduling order, provides an ample basis to
deny the motion to compel.
The motion to compel arbitration is denied as untimely.
The Defendants' Request for a Continuance to Conduct Additional Discovery Before
Responding to the Motion for Partial Summary Judgment
The defendants asked for a two-week continuance to depose Brian Hamilton, the
IBERIABANK employee who provided a declaration in support of the motion for partial summary
judgment. In his declaration, he states that as part of his responsibility to collect distressed assets,
he was assigned to collect the Notes and guarantee agreements at issue here, and that he made the
statements in the declaration based on his personal knowledge. He recounted the principal amounts
and interest due on the Notes and guarantees.
The defendants argue that they need to depose Mr. Hamilton to learn how he calculated the
amounts due. (Docket Entry No. 29 at 2). There are two problems with the request. First, it does
not explain why the defendants did not seek this discovery from IBERIABANK during the discovery
period if they believed the amounts IBERIABANK identified were incorrectly calculated. The
deadline for completing discovery was June 2, 2017, over a month before the defendants sought to
depose anyone from IBERIABANK. The defendants knew the amounts IBERIABANK identified
as due under the Notes and guarantee agreements as early as December 2016, when IBERIABANK
sent the demand letters notifying the defendants of the amounts owed, or January 18, 2017, when
IBERIABANK filed its complaint and set out the amounts due. Courts routinely deny motions
seeking continuances to conduct discovery that could have been done under the court's scheduling
order, but was not. See Williams v. Allstate Fire & Cas. Ins. Co., 2012 WL 1098424, at *7 n.5 (S.D.
Tex. Mar. 30, 2012); Harris v. Fresenius Med Care, 2006 WL 2065313, at* 14 n.6 (S.D. Tex. July
24, 2006); Curtis v. State Farm Lloyds, 2004 WL 1621700, at *8 (S.D. Tex. Apr. 29, 2004).
Second, the defendants have not met the Rule 56(d) requirements to obtain the continuance
they seek. Under Rule 56(d), the "movant 'must set forth a plausible basis for believing that
specified facts, susceptible of collection within a reasonable time frame, probably exist and indicate
how the emergent facts, if adduced, will influence the outcome of the pending summary judgment
motion."' Kay v. Novartis Pharmaceutical Corp., 751 F.3d 694, 700 (5th Cir. 2014) (quoting Raby
v. Livingston, 600 F .3d 552, 561 (5th Cir. 201 0)). "If the requesting party 'has not diligently pursued
discovery ... she is not entitled to relief.'" /d. (quoting Beattie v. Madison Cnty. Sch. Dist., 254
F.3d 595, 606 (5th Cir. 2001)). The defendants did not diligently pursue discovery during the
discovery period, and they are not entitled to relief now.
Moreover, there is no plausible indication that the defendants had, or have, a basis to believe
that the debt amounts set out in the demand letters, in the complaint, or in the declaration are
incorrect or genuinely disputed. The Peel affidavit is vague, conclusory, and internally contradictory,
simultaneously stating that payments were not credited and that it is impossible to determine whether
payments were properly credited. The defendants did not point to testimony or documents showing
the amount of the payments that they made or that some payments were not credited in the total debt
amounts. The Peel affidavit does not provide a plausible basis to believe that additional discovery
would uncover facts material to deciding the existence or extent of the defendants' liability.
Finally, the defendants appear able to set out the payments that they made and their basis for
challenging the amounts due, if a basis exists to do so. In short, the defendants do not show that they
cannot respond to the summary judgment motion by their own declarations and documents. (Docket
Entry No. 29 at 2).
The request for a continuance is denied.
The Motion for Partial Summary Judgment
Texas law applies. To recover on the promissory notes under Texas law, IBERIABANK
must present competent proof that the notes exist, the borrower IBERIABANK is suing on the note
signed it, IBERIABANK is the current owner and holder, and the borrower sued owes the unpaid
principal balance and interest. See SMS Fin., Ltd Liability Co. v. ABCO Homes, Inc., 167 F .3d 23 5,
238 (5th Cir. 1999) (citing Bean v. Bluebonnet Sav. Bank FSB, 884 S.W.2d 520, 522
(Tex.App.-Dallas 1994, no writ)); Whitney Bankv. Hancock, 2013 WL 1404822, at *2 (S.D. Tex.
2013). To recover on the guarantees, IBERIABANK must show: "(1) the existence and ownership
of the guaranty contract, (2) the terms of the underlying contract by the holder, (3) the occurrence
of the conditions upon which liability is based, and (4) the failure or refusal to perform the promise
by the guarantor." Julka v. US. Bank Nat'! Ass 'n, 516 S.W.3d 84, 87 (Tex.App.-Houston [1st
Dist.] 2017, no pet.) (quoting Lee v. Martin Marietta Materials Sw., Ltd, 141 S.W.3d 719, 720
(Tex.App.-San Antonio 2004, no pet.).
IBERIABANK has submitted the guaranty agreements for the Previty Surgical Note I and
II and the Previty East Note, and has submitted the collateral agreement for the Peel Note as part of
the summary judgment record. (Docket Entry No. 24-3; 24-5; 24-7; 23-9). The Previty Surgical
Note I is guaranteed by Dr. Peel, Previty East, Mandie Peel, and Previty Assistants. The Previty
Surgical Note II is guaranteed by Previty East, Dr. Peel, and Mandie Peel. The Previty East Note
is guaranteed by Previty Surgical, Dr. Peel, and Previty Assistants. The Peel Note is collateralized
by the interest and income distributions of Dr. Peel through the Victory Medical Center Beaumont,
LP. "Absent controverting evidence, affidavit testimony together with a true and correct copy of the
note proves ownership for summary-judgment purposes." Whitney Bank, 2013 WL 1404822, at *2.
See Zarges v. Bevan, 652 S.W.2d 368,369 (Tex. 1983).
IBERIABANK has submitted competent evidence of each ofthe four Notes at issue. (Docket
Entry No. 24-2; 24-4; 24-6; 24-8). Dr. Peel signed the Previty Surgical Note I, Previty Surgical Note
II, and the Previty East Note on the line for the borrower. He signed as the Manager of Previty
Surgical and Previty East. He signed the Peel Note as an individual borrower. The Notes identify
IBERIABANK as the borrower, and Brian Hamilton's declaration establishes that IBERIABANK
is the current noteholder and legal owner. The letter told Previty Surgical, Previty East, and Dr. Peel
that the Notes were in default, what amounts were needed to cure the default, and demanded
payment by January 6, 2017. (Docket Entry No. 24-10). The declaration of Brian Hamilton is
competent summary judgment evidence that the defendants did not comply. (Docket Entry No. 24-1
at -,r 12). The declaration also sets out the amounts owing under the Notes and the guarantee
agreements and the collateral agreement as of June 16, 2017. (!d).
Texas law is clear that a declaration setting out the principal balances and interest due is
sufficient summary judgment evidence when, as here, the Notes and guarantee agreements are
identified and competently proven and the record evidence does not give rise to a factual dispute.
See RBC Real Estate Fin., Inc. v. Partners LandDev., Ltd, 543 Fed. Appx. 477,479 (5th Cir. 2013)
("'A lender need not file detailed proof reflecting the calculations reflecting the balance due on a
note; an affidavit by a bank employee which sets forth the total balance due on a note is sufficient
to sustain an award of summary judgment.'") (quoting Hudspeth v. Investor Collection Servs. Ltd
P'ship, 985 S.W.2d 477,479 (Tex.App.-San Antonio 1998, no pet.).
In RBC, an affidavit very similar to the declaration that IBERIABANK submitted was
sufficient to entitle the bank to summary judgment on the amounts it sought under the notes at issue.
The RBC court rejected an argument very similar to the defendants' claim that summary judgment
cannot be granted when there is no explanation for how the amounts due on the note were calculated.
Id. at 479-480.
The defendants have not submitted or identified any competent record evidence calling the
accuracy of the amounts due into question. The Peel affidavit is not sufficient. As explained in
previous sections of this opinion, the affidavit contains nothing more than the sort of"metaphysical
doubt ... , conclusory allegations," and "unsubstantiated assertions" that are insufficient to defeat
a grant of summary judgment. Boudreaux, 402 F .3d at 540. The record contains competent,
uncontroverted evidence of the Notes, guarantee agreements, collateral agreement, and the amounts
due as of June 16, 2017. There is no genuine factual dispute material to establishing that
IBERIABANK is entitled to partial summary judgment that the borrowers and guarantors on the four
Notes at issue are jointly and severally liable for the amounts set out in the declaration as of June 16,
2017, plus any additional prejudgment interest. IBERIABANK may file a motion seeking its fees,
with appropriate support, no later than August 25, 2017.
For the reasons stated, IBERIABANK' s motion for partial summary judgment, (Docket Entry
No. 24), is granted. The defendants' motions to compel arbitration and for a continuance, (Docket
Entry No. 28 and Docket Entry No. 29), are denied. IBERIABANK may file a motion seeking its
fees, with appropriate support, no later than August 25, 2017.
SIGNED on August 4, 2017, at Houston, Texas.
Lee H. Rosenthal
United States District Judge
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