United States District Court, M.D. Florida, Orlando Division
E. MENDOZA, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
CAUSE is before the Court on Defendant SunTrust Bank's
(“SunTrust”) Motion to Consolidate Related Cases
for Pretrial Purposes (“Motion, ” Doc. 32) and
Plaintiff International Speedway Corporation's
(“ISC”) Response in Opposition (Doc. 37). For the
reasons stated herein, the Motion will be denied.
understand the Court's position in this Order, a brief
factual and procedural background of the two cases being
considered for consolidation is necessary.
International Speedway Corporation v. SunTrust
number 6:19-cv-1544-Orl-41LRH (the “1544 Case”)
was originally filed in state court on August 19, 2019, and
removed here the following day. (Notice of Removal, Doc. 1,
at 1). ISC is a corporation, and SunTrust is a Federal
Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC)-insured commercial bank.
(Compl., Doc. 1-1, at 1-2). ISC alleges that it has had a
banking relationship with SunTrust “for over twenty
years, ” including two accounts with SunTrust totaling
nearly $57 million, as of June 4, 2019. (Id. at
2-3). ISC believes that these accounts are governed by
certain Rules and Regulations for Deposit Accounts.
(Id. at 2; Motto Aff., Doc. 1-3, at 1-2;
“Account Rules, ” Doc. 1-3, at 8-31).
April 2019, SunTrust Equipment Finance & Leasing
Corporation (“STEFL”), who is allegedly an
affiliate of SunTrust, filed a complaint against ISC in the
United States District Court for the Northern District of
Georgia (“Georgia Lawsuit”). (Doc. 1-1 at 2;
see Georgia Lawsuit Compl., Doc. 1-3, at 33).
Subsequent to initiation of the Georgia Lawsuit, ISC asserts
that it successfully withdrew-without issue-$50 million of
its funds out of its accounts held with SunTrust. (Doc. 1-1
at 3-4). ISC states that its reason for withdrawing the funds
was based on “the deterioration” of its
relationship with SunTrust-resulting from, inter
alia, the Northern District of Georgia lawsuit-and a
variety of other factors. (Id. at 3). However, when
ISC requested for SunTrust to “transfer the remaining
balance” of its funds to an outside bank, SunTrust
allegedly rejected the transfer. (Id. at 5). The
purported reason for rejecting the withdrawal-per the Georgia
Lawsuit-was that ISC allegedly owed SunTrust's affiliate
nearly $47, 000, 000. (Id.; Account Hold Ltr., Doc.
1-3, at 85). Based on SunTrust's interpretation of the
Account Rules, SunTrust asserts that it was permitted to hold
the funds under these circumstances. (Doc. 1-3 at 85).
lies the essential dispute between the parties in the 1544
Case-whether SunTrust may hold these funds or must release
them, in accordance with the Account Rules and Florida law.
(Doc. 1-1 at 8). ISC requests declaratory and injunctive
relief in the 1544 Case., (id.), and filed a Motion
for Preliminary Injunction (Doc. 4). The Court previously set
the matter of preliminary injunctive relief for hearing on
October 31, 2019. (Aug. 20, 2019 Order, Doc. 8, at
SunTrust Equipment Finance & Leasing Corporation v.
International Speedway Corporation
number 6:19-cv-1624-Orl-EJK (the “1624 Case”) was
filed on August 22, 2019, just two days after the 1544 Case
was removed here. (1624 Case Compl., Doc. 33-1, at 2).
SunTrust explains that the 1624 Case is essentially the same
case as the Georgia Lawsuit, which it voluntarily dismissed
without prejudice the same day as filing the 1624 Case. (Doc.
32 at 4). The 1624 Case arises out of a dispute
between STEFL and ISC. (Doc. 33-1 at 2).
alleges that in 2017 it entered into a commercial arrangement
with DC Solar Distribution, Inc. (“DC Solar”)-a
non-party to both cases at issue here. (Id.). DC
Solar allegedly manufactures and distributes mobile solar
generators. (Id.). The basis of the purported
agreement between STEFL and DC Solar was that “STEFL
agreed to purchase from a DC Solar affiliate 500 [mobile
solar generators] . . . . STEFL then agreed to lease the
[generators] back to DC Solar, which in turn subleased the[m]
to ISC.” (Id. at 3). DC Solar allegedly
stopped making payments to STEFL under the agreement in
December 2018. (Id.). While the cause of the failure
to pay is unknown at this time, DC Solar and several of its
affiliates are alleged to have been operating a Ponzi
Scheme and have filed for
bankruptcy. (Id. at 4, 19). As a result,
STEFL purportedly “stepped into the shoes of DC
Solar” and demanded payment directly from ISC under the
apparent sublease. (Id. at 3). STEFL then initiated
the 1624 Case. (Id.). STEFL believes that ISC owes
STEFL approximately $46 million pursuant to the agreement.
(Id. at 5). As asserted in the 1544 Case, ISC
believes that it does not owe any money to SunTrust or any of
its affiliates and that SunTrust is therefore improperly
holding ISC's money. (Doc. 1-1 at 5-6).
Motion to Consolidate
1544 Case was originally assigned to the Undersigned. (New
Case Assignment, Doc. 2). The 1624 Case was originally
assigned to United States District Court Judge Roy B. Dalton.
(1624 Case, New Case Assignment, Doc. 2). The 1624 Case, upon
motion, was transferred to the Undersigned. (1624 Case, Sept.
9, 2019 Order, Doc. 17). SunTrust now moves to consolidate
the 1544 Case and the 1624 Case for pretrial purposes,
arguing that “[b]oth cases arise out of ISC's
refusal to pay amounts it owes SunTrust's affiliate
[STEFL].” (Doc. 32 at 1). ISC opposes consolidation,
arguing that the two cases do not involve a common question
of law or fact. (Doc. 37 at 1).