United States District Court, D. South Carolina, Florence Division
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER GRANTING
PLAINTIFF’S MOTION FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT AND DENYING
PLAINTIFF’S MOTION FOR SANCTIONS
GEIGER LEWIS UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
an action for breach of contract under North Carolina state
law and for attorney fees pursuant to N.C. Gen. Stat. §
6-21.2. The Court has jurisdiction over this matter under 28
U.S.C. § 1332.
before the Court are two motions by Plaintiff Harvey
Fertilizer and Gas Company (Harvey): 1) a motion for summary
judgment, and 2) a motion for sanctions for failure to appear
at mediation. Having carefully considered the motions, the
responses, the record, and the applicable law, it is the
judgment of the Court Harvey’s motion for summary
judgment will be granted and its motion for sanctions will be
FACTUAL AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY
December 5, 2013, Defendants Strickland Farms of Green Sea,
Inc. (Strickland Farms), Terry Wayne Strickland (Mr.
Strickland), and Charlene Elliott Strickland (Ms. Strickland)
(collectively, Defendants) entered into a Credit Application
and Credit Agreement (Credit Agreement) with Harvey for the
purchase of certain agricultural goods. Complaint ¶14.
Around a year and a half later, with Defendants in default on
the original Credit Agreement, Defendants executed a
Promissory Note on July 1, 2015, (Promissory Note) for the
$377, 247.93 owed plus 10% per annum interest on the
principal balance due December 31, 2015. Promissory Note at
Defendants signed a Security Agreement with Harvey on July 1,
2015, (Security Agreement), creating a security interest on
certain property owned by Defendants related to the
Promissory Note. Security Agreement at 1. When Defendants
failed to pay the amount owed Harvey by the December 31,
2015, deadline, the parties executed a Modification Agreement
dated February 9, 2016, (Modification Agreement) continuing
the terms of the Promissory Note, but extending the maturity
date to December 31, 2016. Modification Agreement. All three
agreements are governed by North Carolina law. Promissory
Note at 3; Security Agreement at 4; Modification Agreement at
3. Defendants failed to make payment by the December 31,
Harvey filed its initial complaint, it filed its motion for
summary judgment. Defendants thereafter filed their response,
and Harvey filed its reply.
also filed a motion for sanctions, to which Defendants
responded. The Court subsequently issued an order staying the
case pending resolution of the bankruptcy filings by
Defendants, which it lifted after Harvey informed it the
bankruptcy court had dismissed Defendants’ cases.
Court, having been briefed on the relevant issues, is
prepared to adjudicate Harvey’s two motions on the
STANDARD OF REVIEW
56(c) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure provides that
summary judgment “shall be rendered forthwith if the
pleadings, depositions, answers to interrogatories and
admissions on file, together with affidavits, if any, show
that there is no genuine issue as to any material fact and
that the moving party is entitled to a judgment as a matter
of law.” The moving party bears this initial burden of
informing the Court of the basis for its motions, and
identifying those portions of the record “which it
believes demonstrate the absence of a genuine issue of
material fact.” Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477
U.S. 317, 323 (1986). The Court reviews the record by drawing
all inferences most favorable to the party opposing the
motion. Matsushita Elec. Indus. Co. v. Zenith Radio
Corp., 475 U.S. 574, 587 (1986).
the moving party carries its burden, the adverse party may
not rest upon the mere allegations or denials of the adverse
party’s pleadings, but the adverse party’s
response . . . must set forth specific facts showing that
there is a genuine issue for trial.” Fed.R.Civ.P.
56(e). The adverse party must show more than “some
metaphysical doubt as to the material facts.”
Matsushita, 475 U.S. at 586. If an adverse party
completely fails to make an offer of proof concerning an
essential element of that party’s case on which that
party will bear the burden of proof, then all other facts are
necessarily rendered immaterial and the moving party is
entitled to summary judgment. Celotex, 477 U.S. at
322–23. Hence, the granting of summary judgment
involves a three-tier analysis.
the Court determines whether a genuine issue actually exists
so as to necessitate a trial. Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(e). An issue is
genuine “if the evidence is such that a reasonable
[trier of fact] could return a verdict for the nonmoving
party.” Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477
U.S. 242, 248 (1986). Second, the Court must ascertain
whether that genuine issue pertains to material facts.
Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(e). The substantial law of the case
identifies the material facts, that is, those facts that
potentially affect the outcome of the suit.
Anderson, 477 U.S. at 248. Third, ...