63 N.E. 723 (Ind.App. 1902), 3,789, Bowlby v. Kline

Docket Nº:3,789
Citation:63 N.E. 723, 28 Ind.App. 659
Opinion Judge:ROBY, J.
Attorney:T. B. Adams, Isaac Carter, A. E. Lisher and Joseph Chez, for appellant. L. F. Wilson, A. F. Wray and T. H. Campbell, for appellees.
Judge Panel:ROBY, J., Black, Robinson, Wiley, Henley, JJ., concur., Comstock, C. J., dissents., COMSTOCK, C. J. dissents. Black, Robinson, Wiley, Henley, JJ., concur. Comstock, C. J., dissents. COMSTOCK
Case Date:April 11, 1902
Court:Court of Appeals of Indiana

Page 723

63 N.E. 723 (Ind.App. 1902)

28 Ind.App. 659




No. 3,789

Court of Appeals of Indiana

April 11, 1902

From Shelby Circuit Court; F. E. Gavin, Special Judge.

Action by Andrew C. Bowlby against Mary E. Kline and others to foreclose a mortgage assigned to him by a building and loan association. From a judgment for defendants, plaintiff appeals.


T. B. Adams, Isaac Carter, A. E. Lisher and Joseph Chez, for appellant.

L. F. Wilson, A. F. Wray and T. H. Campbell, for appellees.

ROBY, J., Black, Robinson, Wiley, Henley, JJ., concur., Comstock, C. J., dissents., COMSTOCK, C. J. dissents.



The legislature by an act which became effective July 1, 1897, provided, among other things, that "The bonds, notes or mortgages belonging to any association shall not be negotiable except upon an order of the circuit court or the judge thereof, in vacation, of the county in which the principal office of said association is situated." § 4463e Burns 1901.

The first paragraph of complaint is founded upon a note and mortgage executed October 16, 1894, by John Kline, to the Mutual Loan & Savings Company of Shelbyville, Ind., in the form usual to building and loan contracts. An assignment thereof was made by the payee to appellant on December 8, 1898. The appellant held second mortgages covering the same land described in the first paragraph, and [28 Ind.App. 660] set them up in subsequent paragraphs of the complaint. Kline paid all amounts due under the contract up to March 6, 1897, and departed this life, April 22, 1897, leaving an estate of less than $ 500, which was set over to his widow under the statute. No payments were made after March 6th aforesaid. The payee of the note was a building and loan association, organized under the laws of the State of Indiana. The assignment was made without any order by any court or judge, as provided by the act of the legislature above set out.

The first conclusion of law was to the effect that the transfer by the payee was in violation of law, and that appellant was not entitled to recover on his first paragraph of complaint.

The correctness of the conclusion depends: (1) Upon whether the act of 1897, applies to instruments executed prior to its enactment; (2) whether if so applied it impairs the obligation of such contracts; (3) whether a building and loan association prior to its enactment had or had not power to negotiate its securities.

The powers of building and loan associations conferred by the act of 1885 included those of suing and being sued, of holding and conveying real estate and personal property, of loaning money and securing its repayment by note or mortgage and otherwise; of purchasing at sheriff's or public sale real estate upon which it had an encumbrance, or in which it had an interest; of conveying, leasing or mortgaging such real estate; of purchasing real estate and conveying it in fee simple, not in excess of fifty acres at one time. Acts 1885, p. 81, §§ 2, 3, 10, and 11, §§ 4445, 4446, 4453, 4454 Burns 1901. The right of a stockholder to withdraw and receive the amount paid in by him was also fixed by statute. Acts 1885, p. 81, § 4447 Burns 1901. There was no legislation forbidding or restricting the transfer of bonds, notes, or mortgages held by such an association, prior to the act of 1897.

[28 Ind.App. 661] The general rule applicable to the assignment of securities by corporations is accurately stated in a recent textbook as follows: "A corporation which has received bills, notes, bonds, or other choses in action in the course of its business has the same power as a natural person to negotiate or assign the same, provided it does so for a legitimate corporate purpose, and violates no express restrictions in its charter." 1 Clark & Marshall Pri. Corp. § 158. The rule applies to building and loan associations. Davis v. Saratoga, etc., Union, 32 Md. 285; Grommes v. Sullivan, 26 C. C. A. 320, 81 F. 45, 43 L. R. A. 419, and note; North Hudson, etc., Assn. v. First Nat. Bank, 79 Wis. 31, 47 N.W. 300, 11 L. R. A. 845, and note; Quein v. Smith, 108 Pa. 325, 331; Wright v. Hughes, 119 Ind. 324, 12 Am. St. 412, 21 N.E. 907.

All written promises to pay money are negotiable by indorsement so as to vest the property thereof in the assignee, who may recover on such instrument in his own name. §§ 7515, 7516 Burns 1901. And the right to take a note ordinarily implies a power to assign it. Hardy v. Merriweather, 14 Ind. 203.

That in the legitimate conduct of its business it may become desirable and necessary for a building and loan association to negotiate and assign paper held by it, is illustrated by the facts of this case. Holding a first mortgage upon real estate, the owner of

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which dies insolvent, the holder of a junior lien proposes to buy its claim, thereby reaching the same result that would follow from a foreclosure sale, purchase, and redemption. No reason can be suggested why it should not have power to save itself from the annoyance and risk of litigation and collect its money by selling and assigning its note and mortgage to him. The legislature by the negative and restrictive language used in the act of 1897, recognized the prior...

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