January 23, 2012
PNC BANK, N.A., PLAINTIFF-RESPONDENT,
TURKIYEM VIDEO INC., DEFENDANT, AND UGUR ERTANIS, DEFENDANT-APPELLANT. UGUR ERTANIS, THIRD-PARTY PLAINTIFF,
AYHAN SAHAN, THIRD-PARTY DEFENDANT.
On appeal from the Superior Court of New Jersey, Law Division, Middlesex County, Docket No. L-6515-09.
NOT FOR PUBLICATION WITHOUT THE APPROVAL OF THE APPELLATE DIVISION
Submitted November 7, 2011
Before Judges Alvarez and Skillman.
On October 29, 2010, defendant PNC Bank, N.A., (PNC) obtained summary judgment against defendants Turkiyem Video Inc. and Ugur Ertanis in the amount of $40,612.58. The figure represents the balance due on a line of credit, initially extended by PNC to Turkiyem Video Inc. on May 26, 2004, and thereafter increased on July 20, 2006. Ertanis signed a personal guaranty securing the loan, both when the company first obtained the line of credit and when it was subsequently increased. The obligation went into default on December 26, 2008. Ertanis appeals the judgment, and we affirm.
On January 31, 2007, Ertanis sold his fifty percent interest in a business referred to in the sale documents as Turkiyem Video Electronics, Inc.*fn1 to his partner, Ayhan Sahan, together with his fifty percent share in a second business known as TWF Electronics, LLC. As partial consideration for the sale, Sahan agreed to assume sole responsibility for the business indebtedness, including the PNC line of credit.
Unfortunately, Sahan was never substituted as the guarantor by PNC. After the credit line went into default, Sahan died.
On appeal, Ertanis contends the Law Division judge erred in granting summary judgment because of certain material issues of fact. The first such fact, he asserts, is that litigation between him and Sahan, regarding the agreement of sale, resulted in court orders compelling Sahan to assume responsibility for the loan. The second such fact, he avers, is a letter from a PNC branch manager stating that Sahan's financial documents would be reviewed as a preliminary step to substituting him on the line of credit.
In reviewing a grant of summary judgment, we employ the same standards as the motion court, Whitfield v. Bonanno Real Estate Group, 419 N.J. Super. 547, 551 (App. Div. 2011). We review the trial court's conclusions of law, however, de novo. Manalapan Realty, L.P. v. Twp. Comm. of Manalapan, 140 N.J. 366, 378 (1995).
Summary judgment is appropriate if the evidence presented "show[s] that there is no genuine issue as to any material fact challenged and that the moving party is entitled to a judgment or order as a matter of law." R. 4:46-2(c). In determining whether there is a genuine issue of fact, we ask whether "the competent evidential materials presented, when viewed in the light most favorable to the non-moving party, are sufficient to permit a rational factfinder to resolve the alleged disputed issue in favor of the non-moving party." Brill v. Guardian Life Ins. Co. of Am., 142 N.J. 520, 540 (1995).
Because Ertanis was never removed from the PNC loan documents he signed as guarantor, despite the sale of the business to Sahan, he continued to be obligated on the line of credit. The circumstances Ertanis asserts raise material issues of fact are inconsequential. The trial judge correctly reasoned: "I . . . know of no legal authority which would require the plaintiff, PNC Bank[,] give up its personal guaranty simply because the guarantor no longer wished to be held liable." Neither do we, nor have we been presented with any such authority. No further discussion is warranted. R. 2:11-3(e)(1)(E).