United States District Court, M.D. Florida, Fort Myers Division
OPINION AND ORDER
E. STEELE SENIOR UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
matter comes before the Court on Plaintiff's Motion for
Summary Judgment (Doc. #26) filed on January 11, 2019.
Defendant filed a Response (Doc. #28) on January 31, 2019.
For the reasons set forth below, the motion is granted.
judgment is appropriate only when the Court is satisfied that
“there is no genuine issue as to any material fact and
that the moving party is entitled to judgment as a matter of
law.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(a). “An issue of fact is
‘genuine' if the record taken as a whole could lead
a rational trier of fact to find for the nonmoving
party.” Baby Buddies, Inc. v. Toys “R”
Us, Inc., 611 F.3d 1308, 1314 (11th Cir. 2010). A fact
is “material” if it may affect the outcome of the
suit under governing law. Anderson v. Liberty Lobby,
Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 248 (1986). “A court must
decide ‘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.'” Hickson Corp. v. N. Crossarm Co.,
Inc., 357 F.3d 1256, 1260 (11th Cir. 2004)(citing
Anderson, 477 U.S. at 251).
ruling on a motion for summary judgment, the Court views all
evidence and draws all reasonable inferences in favor of the
non-moving party. Scott v. Harris, 550 U.S. 372, 380
(2007); Tana v. Dantanna's, 611 F.3d 767, 772
(11th Cir. 2010). However, “if reasonable minds might
differ on the inferences arising from undisputed facts, then
the court should deny summary judgment.” St.
Charles Foods, Inc. v. America's Favorite Chicken
Co., 198 F.3d 815, 819 (11th Cir. 1999)(quoting
Warrior Tombigbee Transp. Co. v. M/V Nan Fung, 695
F.2d 1294, 1296-97 (11th Cir. 1983)(finding summary judgment
“may be inappropriate even where the parties agree on
the basic facts, but disagree about the factual inferences
that should be drawn from these facts”)). “If a
reasonable fact finder evaluating the evidence could draw
more than one inference from the facts, and if that inference
introduces a genuine issue of material fact, then the court
should not grant summary judgment.” Allen v. Bd. of
Pub. Educ., 495 F.3d 1306, 1315 (11th Cir. 2007).
undisputed facts are as follows: On February 4, 2016,
Defendant Henry Jan (Defendant) executed and delivered to
Plaintiff Larry Harris (Plaintiff) a promissory note (the
Note) in the principal amount of $300, 000, to “be
repaid in full on July 3rd, 2017.” (Doc. #1-1, p. 2;
Doc. #26-1, p. 2.) The Note allowed Defendant to make
payments prior to July 3, 2017 without penalty. (Doc. #26-1,
p. 2.) The Note consolidated two prior loans Plaintiff had
made to Defendant in the amounts of $100, 000 and $75, 000 on
June 10, 2010 and August 2, 2010, respectively. (Id.
p. 3.) The Note provides that interest accrues on the unpaid
principal at the interest rate of 12% per annum.
(Id. p. 2.) The Note further provides that, in the
event of Defendant's default, the Note accrues interest
at the rate of 15% per annum. (Id.) The Note matured
on July 3, 2017. (Id.)
4, 2018, Plaintiff filed a Complaint (Doc. #1) against
Defendant, in which he asserts a claim for breach of a
promissory note. Plaintiff alleges in the Complaint that
Defendant failed to make any payments under the terms of the
Note and owes Plaintiff the principal amount of $300, 000,
now moves for summary judgment on his breach of a promissory
note claim. Under Florida law, the elements of a claim for
breach of a promissory note “are the same as those used
for a breach of contract claim.” Regions Bank v.
Legal Outsource PA, No. 2:14-CV-476-FTM-29DN, 2014 WL
7014559, at *3 (M.D. Fla. Dec. 11, 2014)(citation
omitted). The elements for a breach of contract
claim under Florida law are “(1) a valid contract; (2)
a material breach; and (3) damages.” J.J. Gumberg
Co. v. Janis Servs., Inc., 847 So.2d 1048, 1049 (Fla.
4th DCA 2003)(citation and quotation omitted).
promissory note, mature and regular on its face . . . is
sufficient to establish a prima facie case” for breach
of a promissory note. Haycook v. Ostman, 397 So.2d
743, 743-44 (Fla. 5th DCA 1981). “A payee's
possession of an original uncanceled promissory note raises a
presumption of non-payment that shifts the burden of proof to
the payor to establish payment or another defense.”
Cole Taylor Bank v. Shannon, 772 So.2d 546, 550
(Fla. 1st DCA 2000).
Plaintiff has submitted as evidence the Note, which provides
that Defendant was to pay Plaintiff $300, 000 in principal,
plus interest, by July 3, 2017. (Doc. #26-1.) Plaintiff has
also submitted an affidavit, in which Plaintiff avers that
Defendant has made no payments on the Note and remains in
default. (Doc. #26-2.) Accordingly, Plaintiff has established
a prima facie case for breach of a promissory note.
Haycook, 397 So.2d at 743-44. The burden thus shifts
to Defendant “to establish payment or another
defense.” Shannon, 772 So.2d at 550.
argues Plaintiff is not entitled to summary judgment because
he “believes he will demonstrate” that he signed
the Note under duress. (Doc. #28, p. 2.) Defendant, however,
has submitted no evidence supporting his contention that he
signed the Note under duress, and his speculation that he can
establish such a defense is insufficient to rebut
Plaintiff's prima facie case. See Jeffery v.
Sarasota White Sox, Inc., 64 F.3d 590, 594 (11th Cir.
1995)(noting that in opposing summary judgment, the nonmoving
party must “designate specific facts showing that there
is a genuine issue for trial” by using
“affidavits,  depositions, answers to
interrogatories, [or] admissions on file” (citation and
also argues summary judgment is inappropriate because he
“believes that he will demonstrate” that
Plaintiff “has received payments and stock” from
Defendant for the June 10, 2010 and August 2, 2010 debt
underlying the Note. (Doc. #28, p. 2.) In support thereof,
Defendant has attached an authorized stock certificate
(Certificate), which provides that Plaintiff is the record
holder of 16, 667 shares of Healthcare of Today, Inc. (Doc.
#28-1.) The Certificate does not provide that Defendant
transferred these shares to Plaintiff, and Defendant provides
no explanation for how the Certificate, furnished in 2009,
establishes payment by Defendant on the 2016 Note or on the
2010 underlying debt. Thus, this evidence is also
insufficient to rebut Plaintiff's prima facie case.
SeeWalker v. Darby,911 F.2d 1573, 1577
(11th Cir. 1990)(noting that to create a genuine issue ...