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Thomas v. Chance

Court of Appeals of Georgia

February 7, 2014

THOMAS
v.
CHANCE

Contract. Carroll Superior Court. Before Judge Hamrick.

Daniel B. Greenfield, for appellant.

James J. Hopkins , Robert J. Harker, for appellee.

BOGGS, Judge. Doyle, P. J., and McFadden, J., concur.

OPINION

Page 670

Boggs, Judge.

Freida Thomas appeals from the trial court's grant of summary judgment to her brother, Donald Chance, on her complaint for repayment of loans totaling $132,700. In her appeal, Thomas asserts that the trial court erred by granting summary judgment in favor of Chance. For the reasons explained below, we agree and reverse.

" We review the grant or denial of a motion for summary judgment de novo, and we must view the evidence, and all reasonable inferences drawn therefrom, in the light most favorable to the nonmovant." (Citation and punctuation omitted.) Woodcraft by MacDonald, Inc. v. Ga. Cas. & Surety Co., 293 Ga. 9, 10 (743 S.E.2d 373) (2013). So viewed, the record shows that Thomas was the president and 90% owner of Formaboard, Inc., which employed her three siblings: Donald Chance, Andy Chance, and Joan Hayes. In June 1998, Formaboard, Inc. was sold in a stock purchase agreement for a confidential amount, and its operations were later moved from Georgia to South Carolina. Shortly before the sale of the business in 1998, Thomas met with her siblings, told them she had decided to sell the business, and offered to lend them money " to help each of them with their financial needs during the transition." According to Thomas' interrogatory responses, she " further stated that if and when her own financial need arose, she would give them notice to repay the loans." In her deposition, she admitted that she did not recall whether Donald Chance expressly stated that he would repay the loans, explaining " [t]here was no disagreement[ ]."

Between June 1998 and October 2000, Thomas provided money to Donald Chance by writing checks to him or his immediate family members, giving him cash, or making payments directly to merchants on his behalf. Thomas testified that in 2007 she verbally asked Donald Chance to start making payments on the loans. In June or July 2009, she informed Donald Chance that she needed repayment of $100,000. According to Thomas, Donald Chance told her " he was unable to pay it all at once, but said he would get back to [her] to discuss the amount he could start paying." After Donald Chance failed to get back with Thomas, she filed suit against him.

Andy Chance testified that Thomas made an oral agreement to loan him a total of $107,035 and that he repaid this money over a six-year period of time. He testified that he was present at meetings with Donald Chance, Joan Hayes, and Thomas shortly before the sale of Formaboard in which Thomas stated she would loan her three siblings money after the sale.

[325 Ga.App. 717] Joan Hayes testified that she also received loans totaling $135,000 from Thomas and that she repaid the money over time. As with her brother Andy, Hayes did not have a written loan agreement. She testified with regard to the loans that " we were told that -- there might come a time that the need would be there for the money, and we could expect to have to pay that back."

Donald Chance testified that funds he received from Thomas' personal bank account over a two-year period of time after the sale of Formaboard were profit-sharing payments based upon his employment with Formaboard, even though he was working for Formaboard's successor at the time he received

Page 671

these checks. He denied that Thomas loaned him any money or asked him ...


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