United States District Court, S.D. Georgia, Savannah Division
THE FORD PLANTATION CLUB, INC. and THE FORD PLANTATION ASSOCIATION, INC., Plaintiffs and Counter-Defendants,
MICHAEL MCKAY, Individually and as Trustee of the TARA HILL I REVOCABLE TRUST, Defendants and Counter-Claimants.
WILLIAM T. MOORE, JR. UNITED STATES DISTTUCT JUDGE.
the Court are Plaintiffs and Counter-Defendants The Ford
Plantation Club, Inc. and The Ford Plantation Association,
Inc.'s Motion for Summary Judgment (Doc. 42) and Motion
for Summary Judgment on Defendants' Counterclaims (Doc.
43). For the following reasons, Plaintiffs' motions are
GRANTED. Plaintiffs are
DIRECTED to provide this Court with an
updated calculation of damages, including the per diem
interest rate for both the outstanding association dues and
outstanding club dues. Defendants counterclaims are
case involves Defendants' purchase of real property in
the Ford Plantation, a planned development in Richmond Hill,
Georgia. Plaintiff Ford Plantation Association
("Association") is a nonprofit corporation that is
responsible for the ownership, operation and maintenance of
the common areas of The Ford Plantation development,
organized and existing in accordance with the duly-recorded
Declaration of Covenants, Conditions, and Restrictions for
The Ford Plantation (the "Association
Declaration"). (Doc. 42 at 3.) The Association
Declaration requires owners to pay assessments, expenses, and
other charges for all periods of time during ownership.
(Id.) Plaintiff Ford Plantation Club
("Club") is a nonprofit corporation responsible for
the management and maintenance of the private, equity
ownership, social and recreational club of The Ford
Plantation development, organized and existing in accordance
with the duly-recorded Club Declaration for The Ford
Plantation Club, Inc. (the "Club Declaration") and
the duly-recorded The Ford Plantation Club By-Laws (the
"Club By-Laws"). (Id.) The Club is
responsible for the management of various social and leisure
amenities offered to individuals that own property in the
development and have been accepted for membership in the
Club. (Id. at 3-4.) Members of the Club are liable
for the payment of membership dues, fees, contributions,
operating assessments and other charges incurred.
(Id. at 4-5.)
Michael McKay as Trustee of the Tara Hill I Revocable Trust
(the "McKay Trust") is the owner of property
located at the Ford Plantation development. (Id. at
3.) Defendant Michael McKay applied for membership in the
Club as the designated member of the McKay Trust and the
McKay Trust was accepted as a member. (Doc. 42 at 4-5.)
Eventually, Defendants failed to pay both Association and
Club expenses as they became due. (Id. at 5.)
filed suit against Defendant Michael McKay and Beth McKay in
the Superior Court of Bryan County seeking recovery for
outstanding Association and Club dues and assessments.
(Id. at 2; Doc. 1.) Pursuant to 28 U.S.C, §
1332, Defendants invoked this Court's diversity
jurisdiction and removed the case to this Court. (Doc. 1 at
1.) In their amended complaint, Plaintiffs seek over $14, 000
in unpaid fees, assessments, late fees, and interest owed to
the Association and over $153, 000 in unpaid fees,
assessments, late fees, and interest owed to the Club. (Doc.
28 at 8.) In their answer to the amended complaint,
Defendants asserted multiple counterclaims including a
counterclaim for deceit, a counterclaim for breach of
contract, a counterclaim for declaratory judgment seeking a
declaration that "the purported membership obligation is
and has been unenforceable," a counterclaim for
declaratory judgment seeking a declaration that "a Club
member has and always has had the right to resign his or her
membership in The Club at any time" without having to
pay additional expenses, and a counterclaim for breach of
contract and bad faith. (Doc. 30 at 5-20.)
sought to dismiss some, but not all, of their counterclaims
through a notice of dismissal (Doc. 38), however, this Court
found that Defendants were unable to use Federal Rule of
Civil Procedure 41(a)(1)(A)(i) and 41(c) to dismiss only some
of the counterclaims (Doc. 39) . Defendants filed a Consent
Motion to File Amended Answer and Counterclaim to remove some
of the counterclaims. (Doc. 40.) The Court granted the motion
on January 10, 2019 (Doc. 41), however, no amended answer has
been filed to date. Therefore, all counterclaims remain
pending. Plaintiffs now seek summary judgment with respect to
their claims (Doc. 42) and Defendants' counterclaims
(Doc. 43). In their motions, Plaintiffs generally state that
the Association and Club expenses are due under the terms of
the various agreements entered into by Defendants and that
Defendants have no legal defenses that would permit them to
avoid those agreements. (Doc. 42 at 6-13.) With respect to
Defendants' counterclaims, Plaintiffs present a myriad of
arguments they believe defeat Defendants' counterclaims.
(Doc. 43 at 4-24.) Defendants have not responded to either
motion for summary judgment.
judgment shall be rendered "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." Fed.R.Civ.P. 56 (c) . The "purpose of summary
judgment is to 'pierce the pleadings and to assess the
proof in order to see whether there is a genuine need for
trial.'" Matsushita Elec. Indus. Co. v. Zenith
Radio Corp., 475 U.S. 574, 587, 106 S.Ct. 1348, 1356, 89
L.Ed.2d 538 (198 6) (citing Fed.R.Civ.P. 56 advisory
committee notes). Summary judgment is appropriate when the
nonmovant "fails to make a showing sufficient to
establish the existence of an element essential to that
party's case, and on which that party will bear the
burden of proof at trial." Celotex Corp. v.
Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 322, 106 S.Ct. 2548, 2552, 91
L.Ed.2d 265 (1986). The substantive law governing the action
determines whether an element is essential. DeLong Equip.
Co. v. Wash. Mills Abrasive Co., 887 F.2d 1499, 1505
(11th Cir. 1989).
Supreme Court explained:
[A] party seeking summary judgment always bears the initial
responsibility of informing the district court of the basis
for its motion, and identifying those portions of the
pleadings, depositions, answers to interrogatories, and
admissions on file, together with the affidavits, if any,
which it believes demonstrate the absence of a genuine issue
of material fact.
Celotex, 4 77 U.S. at 323, 10 6 S.Ct. at 2 553. The
burden then shifts to the nonmovant to establish, by going
beyond the pleadings, that there is a genuine issue as to
facts material to the nonmovant's case. Clark v.
Coats & Clark, Inc., 929 F.2d 604, 608 (11th Cir.
1991). The Court must review the evidence and all reasonable
factual inferences arising from it in the light most
favorable to the nonmovant. Matsushita, 475 U.S. at
587-88, 106 S.Ct. at 1356. However, the nonmoving party
"must do more than simply show that there is some
metaphysical doubt as to the material facts."
Id., 475 U.S. at 586, 106 S.Ct. at 1356. A mere
"scintilla" of evidence, or simply conclusory
allegations, will not suffice. See, e.g.,
Tidwell v. Carter Prods., 135 F.3d 1422, 1425 (11th
Cir. 1998). Nevertheless, where a reasonable fact finder may
"draw more than one inference from the facts, and that
inference creates a genuine issue of material fact, then the
Court should refuse to grant summary judgment."
Barfield v. Brierton, 883 F.2d 923, 933-34 (11th
PLAINTIFFS' MOTION ...