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Capital City Bank v. Jones

Court of Appeals of Georgia

July 13, 2015


Guaranty. Laurens Superior Court. Before Judge Gillis.

Rogers Law Offices, Beth E. Rogers, James F. F. Carroll, for appellant.

Smith, Garner & Rowland, J. Stanley Smith, James C. Garner, for appellee.

MCFADDEN, Judge. Dillard, J., concurs; Ellington, P. J., concurs in the judgment only.


Page 609

McFadden, Judge.

Capital City Bank sued Eric Jones on guaranties executed by Jones to guarantee the indebtedness of Parrish Capital Resources, Inc. In his answer and counterclaim, Jones sought to vary the written terms of the guaranties and to dispute the recitation in the guaranties that the consideration for them was the loan to Parrish Capital. Those arguments do not constitute a valid defense to the prima facie case the bank had made out by producing the guaranties and showing that Jones had executed them. We therefore reverse the trial court's denial of the bank's motion for summary judgment.

1. Facts.

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 a judgment as a matter of law." OCGA § 9-11-56 (c). " 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." Courtland Hotel v. Salzer, 330 Ga.App. 264 (767 S.E.2d 750) (2014) (citation and punctuation omitted).

[333 Ga.App. 127] So viewed, the evidence showed that Parrish Capital Resources executed a promissory note in favor of the Bank dated July 7, 2011, in the amount of $558,874.89. The note was a renewal and consolidation of other loans, and the collateral for the note included real estate owned by Parrish Capital. Jones, a 50 percent stockholder in Parrish Capital, signed commercial guaranties dated November 20, 2009 and July 7, 2011, guaranteeing payment of the indebtedness of Parrish Capital to the Bank. In his deposition, Jones -- who is an attorney experienced in the drafting and enforcement of loan documents -- testified that he had relied on oral representations that other persons had also signed guaranties. Jones had been signing guaranties for Parrish Capital's loans since 1995. The normal procedure, he testified, was that the Bank would work out the terms of the loan with John Parrish, an officer of Parrish Capital, and then call Jones and let him know that he needed to come in to sign a guaranty. Jones thought that John Parrish was also giving guaranties for the loans, and would always ask Bank employees if John and Phyllis Parrish had signed their guaranties when he went in to sign. The employees, Jones testified, would respond that everyone else had already signed.

As to the guaranties at issue here, Jones testified that he understood whet each guaranty was before he signed it, that he had an opportunity to read it before he signed it, and that he understood that by signing it, he was guaranteeing all indebtedness from Parrish Capital to the Bank -- which he knew was in the range of $500,000. Jones did not see the loan documents before he signed the guaranties; he never asked to see them.

In 2013, the bank notified Jones in a demand letter that the loan to Parrish Capital was in default. The demand letter stated that the July 7, 2011 note was in default and that the Bank was accelerating the note and seeking immediate payment of $558,710.38, plus interest, late fees, and escrow fees from Parrish Capital and all guarantors of the note. The demand letter also notified Jones that if these amounts were not paid within ten days, the Bank would seek to recover its attorney fees. When the amounts sought in the demand letter were not paid, the Bank filed suit against Parrish Capital on the note and against Jones and the other guarantors on their guaranties.

2. Motion for summary judgment on the complaint.

" Once a plaintiff establishes a prima facie case by producing a guarant[y] and showing that it was executed, the plaintiff is entitled to judgment as a matter of law unless the defendant can establish a defense." CSS Real Estate Dev. I v. State Bank and Trust Co., 324 Ga.App. 184, 185 (749 S.E.2d 773) (2013) (citation and punctuation omitted). Here, the Bank ...

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