APPEAL FROM THE TWENTY-FOURTH JUDICIAL DISTRICT COURT PARISH
OF JEFFERSON, STATE OF LOUISIANA NO. 763-059, DIVISION
"I" HONORABLE NANCY A. MILLER, JUDGE PRESIDING
COUNSEL FOR PLAINTIFF/APPELLEE, WHITNEY BANK David F.
Waguespack Andrew Brien.
COUNSEL FOR DEFENDANT/APPELLANT, THE GARDEN GATE NEW ORLEANS,
L.L.C., GARDEN GATE GROWERS, L.L.C., CHAD EVERETT HARRIS; AND
JACQUELINE KENDALL HARRIS Jason M. Cerise Bradley C. Knapp
Peyton C. Lambert.
composed of Judges Fredericka Homberg Wicker, Jude G.
Gravois, and Robert A. Chaisson.
G. GRAVOIS JUDGE.
The Garden Gate New Orleans, L.L.C. ("Garden
Gate"), Garden Gate Growers, L.L.C.
("Growers"), Chad Everett Harris, and Jacqueline
Kendall Harris, appeal the trial court's grant of summary
judgment in favor of plaintiff/appellee, Whitney Bank
("Whitney"). For the reasons that follow, we affirm
the judgment of the trial court.
AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY
20, 2016, Whitney filed suit for breach of promissory notes
and an overdrawn checking account against Garden Gate and
Growers as principals, and Mr. and Mrs. Harris as guarantors.
The petition alleged that Whitney was the holder and owner of
1) a certain promissory note dated May 19, 2015 executed by
Garden Gate in the original principal amount of $1,100,000.00
2) a certain promissory note dated March 8, 2012 executed by
Garden Gate in the original principal amount of $200,000.00
3) a certain promissory note dated July 22, 2013 executed by
Garden Gate in the original principal amount of $250,000.00
4) a certain overdrawn checking account in the name of Garden
5) a certain promissory note dated November 21, 2014 executed
by Growers in the original principal amount of $82,355.88
alleged that defendants were justly, truly, and legally
obligated and indebted to it for the outstanding principal
sums due on the promissory notes, plus accrued interest,
default interest, and late charges; the sum of the overdrawn
account, plus interest, fees, charges, and other amounts as
stated in the account agreement; and reasonable
attorney's fees, all legal expenses and collection costs,
and all costs of the proceeding. The petition further alleged
that the indebtednesses of Garden Gate and Growers were
personally guaranteed by Mr. and Mrs. Harris pursuant to
various Commercial Guaranties executed by them,
to the petition, Note 1 matured and became fully due and
payable on May 19, 2016. Regarding the remaining notes,
Whitney exercised its option to accelerate the maturity dates
thereon due to nonpayment. The petition asserted that Garden
Gate failed to make the payments due on Note 2 on September
8, 2015, and each successive month thereafter; Garden Gate
failed to make the payments due on Note 3 on September 22,
2015, and each successive month thereafter; and Growers
failed to make the payments due on Note 4 on September 21,
2015, and each successive month thereafter, with the
exception of a credit applied on March 1, 2016. Whitney
further asserted that it notified Garden Gate, Growers, and
Mr. and Mrs. Harris of the acceleration and payments due on
the notes and the overdrawn account by letter, and that the
remaining unpaid balances have never been paid in full and
remained due and owing.
requested and were granted an extension of time within which
to answer the petition, and on September 23, 2016, they filed
their answer and affirmative defenses. On October 4, 2016,
Whitney filed a motion for summary judgment, supporting
memorandum, statement of uncontested material facts, and
supporting attachments, including the affidavit of Brian
Berns, a Vice President of Whitney, and copies of the
promissory notes, guaranties, and other loan documents.
Whitney alleged that no genuine issue of material fact
existed in this case and that it was entitled to judgment as
a matter of law as prayed for in its petition. The
attestations made by Mr. Berns in his affidavit included:
• that his duties included the handling of loan accounts
of customers with defaulted loan relationships with Whitney,
including the defaulted loan relationship of defendants;
• that in this capacity, he had access to all of the
loan files and payment history records of defendants;
• that he had reviewed defendants' loan files and
payment history prior to executing the affidavit;
• that based on his review of these documents, he had
personal knowledge of the statements of fact made in his
• that the notes became due and payable through maturity
or acceleration of payments because of default in payments as
stated in the petition;
• that defendants failed to pay the sums due and owing
under the terms of the notes and the overdrawn account and
otherwise defaulted in the performance ...