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Cabana Partners, LLC v. Citizens Bank & Trust Co.

Court of Appeals of Louisiana, First Circuit

December 21, 2018

CABANA PARTNERS, LLC
v.
CITIZENS BANK & TRUST COMPANY

          On appeal from the Nineteenth Judicial District Court In and for the Parish of East Baton Rouge State of Louisiana Docket No. 659, 463 Honorable William A. Morvant, Judge Presiding

          Scott C. Sinclair Shreveport, LA Counsel for Plaintiff/Appellant Cabana Partners, LLC

          David S. Rubin Julie M. McCall George P. Holmes Baton Rouge, LA Counsel for Defendant/Appellee Citizens Bank & Trust Company

          BEFORE: GUIDRY, THERIOT, AND PENZATO, JJ.

          GUIDRY, J.

         Cabana Partners, LLC ("Cabana Partners") appeals a final judgment granting Citizens Bank & Trust Company's ("Citizens Bank") motion for summary judgment. For the reasons that follow, we affirm.

         FACTS AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY

         Cabana Partners is a limited liability company organized under the laws of Louisiana. On or about February 16, 2011, Cabana Partners created an operating checking account called the Cabana Account at Citizens Bank. The Cabana Account reflected that Len Kola ("Kola") and George Allen Roth Walsh ("Walsh") were authorized signers on the account. Kola was the manager and a member of Cabana Partners, and Walsh was the designated agent for Cabana Partners.

         On or about July 24, 2012, Cabana Partners, through Kola, sent an email notifying Citizens Bank that the relationship between Cabana Partners and Walsh had become adversarial, and Cabana Partners was concerned about being sabotaged by Walsh. Nearly four years later, on July 14, 2016, Walsh directed, via telephone, that $125, 000.00 be transferred from the Cabana Account to the CG Walsh Account at Citizens Bank.

         On August 2, 2017, Cabana Partners filed a petition for damages against Citizens Bank, alleging that Citizens Bank acted negligently by allowing Walsh to conduct transactions on the Cabana Account, despite the July 24, 2012 written notice. Cabana Partners further alleged that Citizens Bank was at fault for allowing Walsh to conduct transactions on the Cabana Account by telephone without requiring a signature, which resulted in the loss of $125, 000.00 from the Cabana Account.

         In response to the petition, Citizens Bank filed a motion for summary judgment, [1] wherein it sought to be absolved from liability. Citizens Bank asserted that Walsh was listed as an authorized signatory on the signature card at Citizens Bank when the requested withdrawal was made from the Cabana Account. Citizens Bank further asserted that Cabana Partners did not provide written notification that Walsh's authority had been terminated prior to the transaction. Following a hearing on the motion for summary judgment, the trial court granted the motion and dismissed Cabana Partners' suit with prejudice. Cabana Partners now appeals.

         ASSIGNMENTS OF ERROR

         In this appeal, Cabana Partners alleges the trial court committed the following errors:

1. The trial court erred in granting summary judgment because there was a genuine issue of material fact as to whether Walsh was authorized to withdraw funds from the account by telephone.
2. The trial court erred in granting summary judgment because there was a genuine issue of material fact as to whether Citizens Bank was notified that Walsh's authority to withdraw funds from the account had been revoked.

         DISCUSSION

         Summary Judgment

         A motion for summary judgment is a procedural device used to avoid a full-scale trial when there are no genuine factual disputes. Diversified Marine Services, Inc. v. Jewel Marine, Inc., 16-0617, p. 7 (La.App. 1st Cir. 6/2/17), 222 So.3d 1008, 1013. After an opportunity for adequate discovery, a motion for summary judgment shall be granted if the motion, memorandum, and supporting documents show that there is no genuine issue as to material fact and that the mover is entitled to judgment as a matter of law.[2] La. C.C.P. art. 966(A)(3). The only documents that may be filed in support of or in opposition to the motion are pleadings, memoranda, affidavits, depositions, answers to interrogatories, certified medical records, written stipulations, and admissions. La. C.C.P. art. 966(A)(4).

         On appeal, a motion for summary judgment is subject to de novo review, using the same standards applicable to the trial court's determinations of the issues. Neighbors Federal Credit Union v. Anderson, 15-1020, p. 9 (La.App. 1st Cir. 6/3/16), 196 So.3d 727, 733. An appellate court thus asks the same questions as does the trial court in determining whether summary judgment is appropriate: whether there is any genuine issue of material fact, and whether the mover is entitled to judgment as a matter of law. Smith v. Our Lady of the Lake Hospital, Inc., 93-2512 p. 26 (La. 7/5/94), 639 So.2d 730, 750.

         ASSIGNMENT ...


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