PNC Equipment Finance LLC can recover $26.4 million from two businessmen who defaulted on a multi-million dollar loan to finance five airplanes and a helicopter.

The district court didn’t abuse its discretion by granting summary judgment to PNCEF, a subsidiary of PNC Financial Services Group Inc., the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit held Dec. 13.

Harry Carr, an attorney who worked in Washington, held two vice president positions at AT&T, and served as an upper-level executive in four smaller companies. Carr, along with Mark Mariani, formed HM LLC to buy aircraft.

Carr argued that the district judge should have recused herself from the case because her husband also had aircraft loans with PNCEF. The judge’s husband was “let off the hook” and allowed to settle his aviation loans for far less than he originally owed by a forbearance agreement because of his wife’s status as a federal judge, Carr alleged.

But PNCEF gave Carr several chances to discharge his obligations under his loans for a fraction of the amount he owed, too, the Sixth Circuit said.

“A reasonable person wouldn’t question the judge’s impartiality” in this case, the judges said.

They also rejected Carr’s arguments that the district court erred in considered his unsigned deposition transcript.

Judge Eric L. Clay issued the opinion, joined by Judges David W. McKeague and John Kenneth Bush.

Reed Smith and Vorys Sater Seymour & Pease represent PNC. Carr represented himself.

The case is PNC Equip. Fin. v. Mariani, 6th Cir., No. 18-03324, unpublished 12/13/18.