Steinfurth v. Ski Lodge Apartments, LLCAnnotate this Case
Paul R. Steinfurth and Paul C. Steinfurth (collectively, "the guarantors") appealed the denial of their postjudgment motion requesting that a judgment entered against them and in favor of Ski Lodge Apartments, LLC, be amended insofar as the judgment held that the guarantors had waived their personal exemptions under 6-10-123, Ala. Code 1975. On or about February 13, 2009, Styles Manager, LLC purchased from Vintage Pointe Apartments, LLC an interest in an apartment complex located in Montgomery. As part of this transaction, Styles Manager executed a promissory note promising to pay Vintage Pointe $800,000. Paul C. signed the promissory note in his official capacity as "manager" of Styles Manager. As security for the performance of the payment of the promissory note, the guarantors, in their individual capacities, executed a "guaranty of payment and performance" of the promissory note. Styles Manager defaulted on the promissory note in 2011. Pursuant to the note, the entire principal amount and all accrued interest was then due on February 13, 2011. Neither Styles Manager nor the guarantors cured the default. Accordingly, on September 27, 2012, Ski Lodge sued the guarantors, alleging breach of the guaranty agreement, in order to collect the outstanding debt on the promissory note. Ski Lodge requested $804,333.36, together with additional accrued interest, in damages. In its complaint, Ski Lodge did not expressly allege that the guarantors had waived their right to a personal exemption. However, Ski Lodge did attach to its complaint copies of the loan documents, which included the promissory note and the guaranty agreement, and stated that each was "incorporated herein by reference." The
guarantors filed an answer and counterclaims against Ski Lodge alleging misrepresentation and suppression. The guarantors moved to dismiss Ski Lodge's suit against them, then filed a Rule 59(e), Ala. R. Civ. P., motion to alter, amend, or vacate the circuit court's judgment insofar as the circuit court held that the "judgment is entered pursuant to Alabama law with a waiver of exemptions, according to the terms expressed in the [p]romissory [n]ote and [the] [g]uaranty [agreement] which are the subject matter of this action, as the same were incorporated and adopted into the complaint." The guarantors argued that "waiver was not properly [pleaded]" and that the guaranty agreement did "not provide for waiver of exemptions by" the guarantors. The circuit court ultimately denied the guarantors' postjudgment motion, leading to this appeal to the Alabama Supreme Court. After review, the Supreme Court concluded the circuit court's holding that the guarantors waived their personal exemptions was in error. Accordingly, the Court reversed the circuit court's judgment and remanded the matter for further proceedings.