United States District Court, W.D. Louisiana, Alexandria Division
PEREZ-MONTES MAG. JUDGE.
the court is Juan Pablo Palacios' "Motion for
Summary Judgment" (Doc. 40). For the reasons set forth
below, the court finds the motion should be DENIED.
Pablo Palacios filed a complaint (Doc. 1) against Thomas
Cupples II on March 22, 2017. Palacios alleged Cupples
defaulted on a promissory note signed on April 10, 2012 that
was made payable to Palacios in the amount of $218, 218.84.
Palacios alleged Cupples executed the promissory note to
secure, as guarantor, the indebtedness of Agencia
Independiente de Seguros y Fianzas Grupo Aseso, S.A.
("Agencia") but ceased making payments after March
21, 2015. Thus, Palacios sought damages for the balance on
the promissory note, $197, 208.22, plus interest, late fees,
costs and attorney's fees.
responded to the complaint by filing a motion to dismiss for
failure to state a claim pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil
Procedure 12(b)(6). Cupples argued Palacios' complaint
should be dismissed because: (1) he failed to establish
Cupples was the guarantor of Agenda's loan and (2) under
Louisiana law, which Cupples argued was the proper choice of
law, the promissory law did not meet the valid statutory
basis for suretyship.
Judge Perez-Montes issued a Report and Recommendation (Doc.
20) on February 9, 2018, in which he found the Florida choice
of law provision was applicable and "under Florida law,
Palacios made a prima facie case by presenting the valid
promissory note and claiming the unpaid amount."
Accordingly, the motion to dismiss for failure to state a
claim was recommended to be denied. The undersigned adopted
the Report and Recommendation and issued a judgment ruling
specifically that Florida law applied and the motion to
dismiss should be denied.
matter proceeded with Cupples filing an answer approximately
two weeks thereafter, the parties seeking an extension of all
deadlines the following week, and the case proceeding for
another eight months before the instant motion for summary
judgment was filed.
motion for summary judgment, Palacios contends the Report and
Recommendation and the Judgment adopting it establish Cupples
liability for the unpaid amounts on the promissory note;
thus, the only remaining matter is the damages owed. Cupples
opposes the motion arguing the only ruling made by this court
was that Palacios' complaint stated a claim upon which
relief could be granted and that Florida law applied.
Accordingly, outstanding genuine issues of material fact
remain regarding liability and summary judgment should not be
argues that the choice of law issue was "fully
briefed" by the parties at the time the motion to
dismiss was filed. We agree. The parties did fully brief the
issue and the court ruled the Florida choice of law provision
in the promissory note applied to this case as no strong
Louisiana public policy existed to prevent its application.
further argues that the parties "also briefed" the
enforceability of the promissory note under Florida law. We
do not find the issue of liability was fully briefed in
conjunction with the motion to dismiss. To do so would be
contrary to the purpose of the pre-answer dismissal of the
claim. Cupples' motion sought to dismiss Palacios'
claim based on a failure to state a claim upon which relief
could be granted.
court's focus was only the legal sufficiency of
Palacios' complaint. In evaluating the matter, Magistrate
Judge Perez-Montes set forth the standard for evaluating a
12(b)(6) motion. "[A] complaint will survive dismissal
for failure to state a claim if it contains 'sufficient
factual matter, accepted as true, to state a claim for relief
that is plausible on its face.'" (Id. at 2,
citation omitted). Further, a "claim has facial
plausibility when the plaintiff pleads factual content that
allows the court to draw the reasonable inference that the
defendant is liable for the misconduct alleged."
(Id.). However, a 12(b)(6) motion is not a trial on
summarize, Cupples set forth the argument that Palacios'
allegations in the complaint about Cupples were not plausible
based on the four corners of the promissory note in the
record. Further, Cupples argued Florida law was inapplicable
to the case, thus, resulting in the promissory note's
ineffectiveness under Louisiana suretyship. The Report and
Recommendation evaluated the choice of law provision;
established that Florida law applied; and, determined the
complaint was legally sufficient as the issue of whether or
not Cupples guaranteed Agenda's debt. Accordingly, the