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Capital Bank, N.A. v. Chapman

United States District Court, E.D. Louisiana

January 2, 2015

CAPITAL BANK, N.A.,
v.
JOHN H. CHAPMAN, STARR S. CHAPMAN, AND LAURA H. CHAPMAN, SECTION:

ORDER AND REASONS

HELEN G. BERRIGAN, District Judge.

Before the Court is plaintiff's motion for summary judgment, defendants having filed no opposition. Rec. Doc. 22. Having considered the law, the evidence, and the submissions of the parties, the Court hereby GRANTS plaintiff's motion for the reasons that follow.

I. Background

Plaintiff, Capital Bank, N.A., ("Capital Bank") brings this action pursuant to Louisiana Civil Code art. 2036 to revoke a transfer of property by John H. Chapman and Starr S. Chapman to their daughter, Laura H. Chapman. Rec. Doc. 1.

According to Capital Bank, defendants John H. Chapman and Starr S. Chapman ("the Chapmans") are indebted to Capital Bank under two promissory notes on which the Chapmans defaulted. Id. at ¶ 9. To recover the outstanding balance, Capital Bank initiated a lawsuit in the First Circuit Court for Davidson County, Tennessee and was awarded a judgment against the Chapmans in the amount of $278, 485.01 plus attorney's fees, costs, and post-judgment interest. Id. at ¶ 10-11. Notice of the judgment was sent to the Chapmans through their counsel of record on June 24, 2013. Id. at ¶ 12. On August 2, 2013, Capital Bank succeeded in making the judgment executory in Louisiana. Id. at ¶ 16. Capital Bank notified the Chapmans by letter of its intention to make the judgment executory on August 9, 2014. id. at ¶ 17. The Chapmans admit that they received the letter on August 14, 2013. Rec. Doc. 12 at ¶ 11.

Capital Bank claims that on August 9, 2014, the Chapmans executed a Quitclaim transferring at 2511 St. Charles Avenue, Unit 403, New Orleans, Louisiana 70130 (the "St. Charles Property") to their daughter, Laura H. Chapman, for no meaningful consideration. Id. at ¶ 18-22. Capital Bank further asserts that the transfer either caused the Chapmans to become insolvent or exacerbated their preexisting insolvency. Id.

The Chapmans admit that judgment was rendered against them in the Tennessee state court, and that the judgment from that court has not been satisfied. They further admit that Capital Bank filed an action to make the judgment executory in Louisiana. Rec. Doc. 12. Though they deny most of Capital Bank's other allegations, the Chapmans admit the accuracy of the documents which Capital Bank attached as exhibits to its complaint. Id. Their daughter, Laura Chapman, denies that Capital Bank prevailed against the Chapmans in a Tennessee court and made the judgment executory in Louisiana, but also admits the accuracy of the exhibits attached to the complaint. Rec. Doc. 13. All defendants deny that the Chapmans were either made insolvent or exacerbated their insolvency by transferring title of the St. Charles Property to Laura Chapman. Rec. Docs. 12, 13.

II. Standard of Review

Summary judgment is proper when the record indicates that there is not a "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 genuine issue of fact exists if the evidence is such that a reasonable jury could return a verdict for the non-moving party. Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 248 106 S.Ct. 2505, 2510, 91 L.Ed.2d 202 (1996).

A party seeking summary judgment "bears the initial responsibility of informing the district court of the basis for its motion, and identifying those portions of [discovery], together with the affidavits, if any, ' which it believes demonstrate the absence of a genuine issue of material fact." Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 323, 106 S.Ct. 2548, 2553, 91 L.Ed.2d 265 (1986). Once the initial burden is met, the nonmoving party must "designate specific facts showing there is a genuine issue for trial" using evidence cognizable under Rule 56. Id. at 324, 106 S.Ct. at 2253. "[U]nsubstantiated assertions" and "conclusory allegations" will not defeat a properly supported motion for summary judgment. Hopper v. Frank, 16 F.3d 92, 97 (5th Cir. 1994); Lujan v. Nat'l Wildlife Fed'n, 497 U.S. 871, 871-73, 110 S.Ct. 3177, 3188, 111 L.Ed.2d 695 (1990). "If the evidence is merely colorable, or is not significantly probative, " summary judgment is appropriate. Anderson, 477 U.S. at 249-50, 106 S.Ct. at 2511 (internal citations omitted). "Only disputes over facts that might affect the outcome of the suit under the governing law will properly preclude the entry of summary judgment." Id. at 248, 106 S.Ct. at 2510. When reviewing a motion for summary judgment, a court must view the evidence and inferences drawn therefrom in the light most favorable to the non-moving party. Daniels v. City of Arlington, Texas, 246 F.3d 500, 502 (5th Cir. 2001). Summary judgment does not allow a court to resolve credibility issues or weigh evidence. Int'l Shortstop, Inc. v. Rally's, Inc., 939 F.2d 1257, 1263 (5th Cir. 1991).

Because the defendants have not responded to the motion, the Court relies on plaintiff's presentation of the facts except when the record reveals a factual ambiguity. See, 3 Eagles Aviation, Inc. v. Rousseau, 2005 WL 32787, No. Civ. A. 03-2889, *1 (E.D. La. Jan. 5, 2005). Though the Court may not grant summary judgment simply because the motion is unopposed, it may accept the movant's version of the facts as undisputed where the movant has made a prima facie showing of its entitlement to summary judgment. Eversley v. Mbank Dallas, 843 F.2d 172, 174 (5th Cir. 1988).

III. Analysis

Louisiana Civil Code art. 2036 provides that "[a]n obligee has a right to annul an act of the obligor, or the result of a failure to act of the obligor, made or effected after the right of the obligee arose, that causes or increases the obligor's insolvency." A revocatory action requires the creditor pursuing the action to demonstrate that the offending transaction (1) was made or effected after the right of the obligee arose and (2) caused or increased the obligor's insolvency. See Traina v. Whitney Nat. Bank, 109 F.3d 244, 246 (5th Cir. 1997).

Capital Bank claims that the first requirement is satisfied. According to Capital Bank, judgment was rendered against the Chapmans by the First Circuit Court for Davidson County, Tennessee on June 27, 2013 in the amount of $278, 485.01 as well as attorney's fees and costs ("Tennessee judgment"). Rec. Doc. 1 at ¶ 11. Capital Bank has attached a true and complete copy of the final order from the Tennessee state court. Rec. Doc. 1-1 at 6. Capital Bank has also attached a true copy of the judgment from the Civil District Court for the Parish of Orleans, dated August 2, 2013, rendering the Tennessee judgment executory in Louisiana. Rec. Doc. 1-1 at 21. Though Laura Chapman denies these allegations, the Chapmans have admitted to them. Rec. Doc. 12, 13. Finally, Capital Bank avers that the Chapmans executed a quitclaim on August 9, 2013 that transferred title of the St. Charles Property to Laura Chapman, and have attached a copy of the quitclaim to its complaint. Rec. Doc. 1-1 at 31. Both the Chapmans and Laura Chapman admit the authenticity of the quitclaim. Rec. Docs. 12, 13. Because ...


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