Submitted: February 7, 2017
from United States District Court for the Western District of
Arkansas - Ft. Smith
SMITH, Chief Judge  , BENTON and SHEPHERD, Circuit
SHEPHERD, Circuit Judge.
Robert Halterman appeals the district
court's grant of summary judgment to Johnson
Regional Medical Center (JRMC) in this breach of contract
suit and the district court's subsequent award of $64,
931.81 to JRMC. Having jurisdiction under 28 U.S.C. §
1291, we affirm.
essential facts are undisputed. In early 2013, JRMC recruited
Halterman to work as a full-time obstetrician and
gynecologist (OB/Gyn) at its Clarksville, Arkansas
facilities. On March 20, 2013, Halterman executed three
documents with JRMC: (1) a "Physician Recruitment
Agreement" (Recruitment Agreement), (2) a Promissory
Note (Note) in favor of JRMC in the principal amount of $50,
000.00 plus interest payable in monthly installments, and (3)
a "Physician Employment Agreement" (Employment
Agreement). After he signed the documents, JRMC advanced
Halterman $50, 000 in three installments beginning in April
2013 as a "Signing Advance." The Recruitment
Agreement provided that the monthly payments under the
promissory note would be forgiven as long as Halterman's
employment at JRMC continued. Further, the Recruitment
Agreement provided that, absent prior termination, it would
continue in full force until the final payment on the Note
was made or forgiven, except that obligations which extend
beyond this period would survive termination of the
Halterman's employment with JRMC only lasted around five
months-with Halterman beginning work on July 31, 2013, and
resigning by letter on December 23, 2013. Halterman cited an
injury to his shoulder as the reason for his resignation.
response to Halterman's resignation letter, JRMC informed
him by letter dated January 17, 2014, that it accepted his
resignation and terminated his employment "pursuant to .
. . the Employment Agreement" as of the date of his
resignation letter. JRMC, in the same letter, informed
Halterman that its monthly forgiveness of his Signing Advance
loan payments ceased and it demanded payment of the remaining
balance of "[t]hirty-five thousand eight hundred fifty
two and 30/100 ($37, 894.00) [sic]." Halterman failed
to make any payments. He began working elsewhere as a
hospitalist during the spring of 2014.
filed suit against Halterman alleging that (1) he failed to
pay the balance of the Note when due (Count 1), and (2) he
breached the terms of the Employment Agreement (Count 2). The
suit was originally filed in the Circuit Court of Johnson
County, Arkansas, but was removed to the United States
District Court for the Western District of Arkansas by
Halterman under diversity jurisdiction. The parties filed
cross-motions for summary judgment on Count 1, and Halterman
filed a summary judgment motion on Count 2. The district
court granted JRMC's summary judgment motion on Count 1
and denied Halterman's summary judgment motions. JRMC
then voluntarily dismissed Count 2. On June 9, 2016, the
district court awarded judgment totaling $64, 931.81 to JRMC,
including $37, 894.88 in principal owed under the Note, $21,
696.00 in attorney's fees, $3, 849.93 in accrued interest
to the date of the order, and $1, 491.00 in additional costs.
Halterman appeals the district court's grant of summary
judgment to JRMC and its award of attorney's fees and
costs. We affirm.
review "the district court's grant of summary
judgment and its interpretation of state contract law de
novo." Thornton Drilling v. Nat'l Union
Fire Ins. Co., 537 F.3d 943, 945 (8th Cir.
2008). "Summary judgment is proper if the . . . [record]
. . . show[s] that there is no genuine issue as to any
material fact and that the movant is entitled to judgment as
a matter of law." Torgerson v. City of
Rochester, 643 F.3d 1031, 1042 (8th Cir. 2011) (en banc)
(internal quotation marks omitted) (citing Fed.R.Civ.P.
56(c)(2)). In conducting our review, we view "the facts
in the light most favorable to the nonmoving party and giv[e]
that party the benefit of all reasonable inferences that can
be drawn from the record." Holt v. Howard, 806
F.3d 1129, 1132 (8th Cir. 2015) (internal quotation marks
omitted). "Where the record taken as a whole could not
lead a rational trier of fact to find for the non-moving
party, there is no genuine issue for trial."
Matsushita Elec. Indus. Co. v. Zenith Radio Corp.,
475 U.S. 574, 587 (1986) (internal quotation marks omitted).
Halterman argues that all three of the documents that he
executed with JRMC constitute a single contract. He next
contends that his performance under that contract was excused
by (1) JRMC's breach of contract, (2) JRMC's
fraudulent inducement related to misrepresentations regarding
Halterman's on-call requirements, and/or (3) his shoulder
injury. Finally, he asserts that the district court erred in
awarding attorney's fees and costs to JRMC.