Phantom Guaranty

The Fifth Circuit, which in recent years has shown a healthy skepticism about suits to enforce guaranty obligations, again reversed a judgment against a guarantor in JRG Capital Investors I, LLC v. Doppelt, No. 13-20418 (Aug. 5, 2014, unpublished).  The underlying note was “generally a nonrecourse debt, meaning that the borrower could not be held personally liable for any deficiency.”  While the note had several exceptions that triggered personal liability, the parties agreed that none had occurred.  The Court found that the guaranty was only for “the prompt, complete and full payment and performance when due . . . of Borrower’s Recourse Obligations,” and contrasted language involving similar guaranty documents in other cases that was not so limited.

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