Countryside Center, LLC v. BPC of Memphis, LLC d/b/a Auto Radio, et al.

Countryside Center, LLC v. BPC of Memphis, LLC d/b/a Auto Radio, et al.

The defendant, the alleged guarantor of the obligations of BPC of Memphis, LLC, under a lease agreement, appeals the grant of summary judgment in favor of the plaintiff, finding the defendant personally liable for the tenant’s obligations under the lease. BPC, the tenant, occupied the leased premises from December 2012 until August 2015, at which time it stopped paying rent. After BPC and the defendant refused the plaintiff’s demands for payment, the plaintiff commenced this action against BPC and the defendant as the guarantor. In the answer to the complaint, the defendant denied signing any document that purports to establish his personal liability. The plaintiff filed a motion for summary judgment that was properly supported by a statement of undisputed facts and affidavits pursuant to Tenn. R. Civ. P. 56. The defendant’s response was supported by his affidavit in which he disputed the plaintiff’s statement of fact that he signed “the lease” or “the Personal Guarantee section” of the lease. The chancery court granted the plaintiff’s motion for summary judgment stating, in part, “[i]n the face of the mountain of evidence in the record submitted by Plaintiff, Defendants had the burden to bring forward evidence other than Mr. Panchikal’s blanket denial in order to create a genuine issue of material fact,” and “Defendants failed to meet their burden.” The court also stated it was “mindful that Defendants have attempted to put into question Paragraphs 10, 21, and 27 in Plaintiff’s Statement of Undisputed Fact.” This appeal followed. We have determined that the defendant created a genuine dispute of a material fact by stating, inter alia, in his affidavit that “the documents claimed to bear my signature by the Plaintiffs are a forgery,” and “I never executed any guaranty section on any lease, contract or other document.” Accordingly, we reverse and remand for further proceedings.

Authoring Judge: 
Presiding Judge Frank G. Clement, Jr.
Originating Judge: 
Chancellor JoeDae L. Jenkins
Date Filed: 
Thursday, August 9, 2018