80 N.W.2d 593 (Minn. 1957), 36858, Frye v. Anderson

Docket Nº36858.
Citation80 N.W.2d 593, 248 Minn. 478
Opinion JudgeThe opinion of the court was delivered by: Nelson
Party NameDavid H. FRYE, Appellant, v. Erdie ANDERSON, Respondent.
AttorneyArthur J. Donnelly, David R. Roberts, and Sullivan, Stringer, Donnelly & Sharood, for appellant.
Case DateJanuary 18, 1957
CourtSupreme Court of Minnesota

Page 593

80 N.W.2d 593 (Minn. 1957)

248 Minn. 478

David H. FRYE, Appellant,

v.

Erdie ANDERSON, Respondent.

No. 36858.

Supreme Court of Minnesota.

January 18, 1957

Page 594

Syllabus by the Court.

1. The conflict in defendant's testimony at the trial below, as well as between defendant's testimony and that of his son, requires that the issue as to the credibility of the witnesses be reconciled by a jury determination. The purposes and intentions of defendant and his son, as reflected both by their testimony and by the documentary evidence received, present fact questions for the jury.

2. The evidence in the instant case presents fact questions as to the bona fide ownership of the defendant ostensibly holding the title. That question is for the jury and the triers of fact are entitled to look through form to substance and determine the realities from conduct of the parties. More may be considered than the naked title to the motor truck in determining who is the owner.

3. The registration of a motor vehicle under the state motor vehicle law in defendant's name is prima facie but not conclusive evidence of defendant's ownership. Evidence is admissible to show that the title is different than that appearing from the registration.

4. The license number of a motor vehicle coupled with evidence that the defendant held the license furnished prima facie proof that the defendant was the owner, and it also furnished prima facie proof in the instant case that the operator of the motor vehicle was then engaged in the owner's service.

5. Elements of proof must include that owner was in fact an 'owner' as that term is interpreted within the statute; that use was with express or implied

Page 595

consent of the owner; and that the permittee's or driver's negligent operation or use caused the damage complained of.

[248 Minn. 479] 6. If there is a holding out of a partnership relation, liability for negligence may result without an actual partnership relation. If the holding out is such that estoppel applies, it may extend to tort actions as well as to matter of credit or contract.

7. Plaintiff's assignment of error as to the court's rejection of the offer in evidence of plaintiff's exhibit 'E', and insurance policy, was well taken. The conditional sales contract issued in connection with that purchase was admitted in evidence and foundation thereby laid for the admission of the insurance policy which was issued to satisfy the terms of the contract with its recital of ownership.

8. Under the Safety Responsibility Act and the other statutes to which it is supplementary, the question as to the ownership of the truck, at the time of the accident, as well as the resulting liability, was for the jury.

Reversed and new trial granted.

Arthur J. Donnelly, David R. Roberts, Sullivan, Stringer, Donnelly & Sharood, St. Paul, for appellant.

Merlyn C. Green, Jerome B. Simon, Bundlie, Kelley & Maun, St. Paul, for respondent.

NELSON, Judge.

Action by plaintiff to recover for personal injuries sustained in an accident occurring June 25, 1953, at the intersection of Rice Street and Ivy Avenue in St. Paul. At the end of the trial, the court below directed a verdict for defendant, refusing to submit [248 Minn. 480] to the jury the question of his ownership of the truck involved in the accident. Plaintiff's motion for a new trial was denied, and plaintiff appeals from the judgment entered thereafter.

This appeal from the judgment involves review of the intermediate order denying judgment notwithstanding and a new trial and certain rulings on the evidence at the trial.

The rule that the reviewing court will view the evidence in the aspects most favorable to the verdict does not apply in this case where the trial court has directed the verdict. 1

A recital of the following facts may be helpful: David Frye, the plaintiff, was injured when a truck operated pursuant to a city ash-hauler's license, allegedly issued to defendant and his son, and driven by one Donald Vitally, an employee, ran into the rear of plaintiff's automobile. The plaintiff, at the time, was stopped at the intersection to permit another vehicle to cross the intersection.

The defendant Erdie Anderson then lived at 120 East Wyoming Street in St. Paul and his son Raymond lived at the same house. Raymond's testimony at the trial which commenced October 27, 1955, fixes his age at 23 years as of that date.

It appears that the son had been engaged in the ash-hauling business during and prior to the month of June 1953 under a license issued to him by the city of St. Paul under Ordinance No. 8477 (Proceedings of the Council of City of St. Paul, 1943, p. 322). He had been using two trucks and had an employee or employees. Occasionally his father, the defendant herein, would go out with one of the trucks. Something had happened, which the record does not fully disclose, prior to June 3, 1953. The defendant indicated that he did not know what it was. It is clear that at that time Raymond had received notice that his rights under his ash-hauler's license would be terminated; his credit was in jeopardy and his insurance about to be cancelled; and

Page 596

he also faced the loss of his license. The evidence would indicate that only through the assistance of his father could he hope to continue in the business or in any event to obtain a renewal of his ash-hauler's license.

[248 Minn. 481] Owing to this turn of events, several significant acts and meetings took place in which Erdie Anderson, the father, figured prominently and in the end so effectively that a renewal of the ash-hauler's license was issued to Raymond and Erdie Anderson on July 3, 1953, effective July 1, 1953, to June 30, 1954, pursuant to an application made June 3, 1953. The renewal application, signed by Ray Anderson, had asked for a license to be issued to both father and son as was done.

The testimony indicates that the defendant authorized his son to use his name to secure the renewal. The license application was approved on June 3, 1953, to be issued in the name of 'Raymond & Erdie Anderson,' the old license being definitely subject to expiration on July 1, 1953, unless certain requirements were met, and it may be inferred from the evidence that the defendant knew what those requirements were and what had to be done about it.

The record indicates that, prior to the date of the accident, the defendant had signed documents connected with the same ash-hauling business and with the purchase of the truck involved in the accident and the insurance on the ownership thereof. The defendant accompanied his son at the time they signed a conditional sales contract at Kon Kord Motors for the purchase of same truck February 12, 1953, the defendant on that occasion signing as customer the contract also designating him as a copurchaser. He testified that the truck was bought for the purpose of hauling ashes and rubbish and was so used from the day of purchase. It is clear from the defendant's testimony that he wanted the son to be able to use his name, and as he stated, 'To see that he gets the truck' and in buying the truck. The exhibits disclose that an insurance sales order was issued at the time of the purchase in defendant's name only for personal liability and property damage insurance for two Ford trucks signed only by defendant three or four days prior to the accident. It does not appear from the testimony that the defendant personally made any of the payments on the conditional sales contract. It does appear that trucks, which the son had used in the ash-hauling business prior to obtaining this one, had been carried in defendant's name.

[248 Minn. 482] The conditional sales contract by its terms had 24 months to run and a balance of $2,406.96 to be paid at the time of purchase. The payments were thereafter made from the profits of the ash-hauling business. The fire and collision insurance issued by the seller at the time of the purchase, which plaintiff claims was erroneously rejected as evidence below, recited both Erdie Anderson and Ray Anderson as 'purchaser/insured.'

Application for an ash-hauler's license must be made in compliance with Ordinance No. 8477. Section 2 of the ordinance provides in part as follows:

'Any person desiring a license to remove, transport or carry any of the waste matter or material aforesaid in the City of Saint Paul shall make application therefor to the City Clerk. Said applicant shall file with the City of Saint Paul a policy or policies of insurance, Insuring said applicant in the sum of $10,000 against liability imposed by law on account of damages for injuries to persons, and in the sum of $5,000 against liability imposed by law on account of damage to or destruction of property by reason of the ownership or operation of the vehicle to be used By said applicant under the terms of this ordinance. Each applicant must furnish satisfactory proof of his compliance with such requirement to the City Clerk before any license

Page 597

will be granted.' (Italics supplied.)

The evidence indicates that the insurance policy which was required to accompany an application for license and be on file with the city was being carried by the son and...

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17 practice notes
  • 250 N.W.2d 744 (Mich.App. 1976), 25525, Baranowski v. Strating
    • United States
    • Michigan Court of Appeals of Michigan
    • 2 Diciembre 1976
    ...to the plaintiffs as a partner of defendant Strating by estoppel, even though Strating's liability rested in tort. Frye v. Anderson, 248 Minn. 478, 80 N.W.2d 593 (1957). While a good argument can be made for limiting the application of the partnership by estoppel theory to tort causes of ac......
  • 91 N.W.2d 585 (Minn. 1958), 37227, Haugen v. Dick Thayer Motor Co.
    • United States
    • Minnesota Supreme Court of Minnesota
    • 18 Julio 1958
    ...v. Commercial Credit Corp., 230 Minn. 469, 42 N.W.2d 54; Hanson v. Homeland Ins. Co., 232 Minn. 403, 45 N.W.2d 637; Frye and Anderson, 248 Minn. 478, 80 N.W.2d 593. In Frye v. Anderson, supra, we reversed and granted a new trial where the lower court had directed a verdict in favor of the d......
  • 4 B.R. 809 (D.Minn. 1980), 2-75-283, Olsen-Frankman Livestock Marketing Service, Inc. v. Citizens Nat. Bank
    • United States
    • Federal Cases United States District Courts 8th Circuit District of Minnesota
    • 28 Mayo 1980
    ...from raising its security interest as a shield against its own fraud. Equitable estoppel is a rule of substantive law, Frye v. Anderson, 248 Minn. 478, 80 N.W.2d 593 (1957); Minnesota law is therefore applicable. Erie R. Co. v. Tompkins, 304 U.S. 64, 58 S.Ct. 817, 82 L.Ed. 1188 (1938); Busb......
  • 420 N.W.2d 598 (Minn. 1988), C1-87-0144, Bank North v. Soule
    • United States
    • Minnesota Supreme Court of Minnesota
    • 18 Marzo 1988
    ...288 Minn. 386, 181 N.W.2d 113 (1970) (title passes upon physical delivery notwithstanding subsequent dishonored check); Frye v. Anderson, 248 Minn. 478, 487, 80 N.W.2d 593, 599 (1957) (jury may consider facts beyond title to determine ownership). Rebuttal of the statutory presumption was fr......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
17 cases
  • 250 N.W.2d 744 (Mich.App. 1976), 25525, Baranowski v. Strating
    • United States
    • Michigan Court of Appeals of Michigan
    • 2 Diciembre 1976
    ...to the plaintiffs as a partner of defendant Strating by estoppel, even though Strating's liability rested in tort. Frye v. Anderson, 248 Minn. 478, 80 N.W.2d 593 (1957). While a good argument can be made for limiting the application of the partnership by estoppel theory to tort causes of ac......
  • 91 N.W.2d 585 (Minn. 1958), 37227, Haugen v. Dick Thayer Motor Co.
    • United States
    • Minnesota Supreme Court of Minnesota
    • 18 Julio 1958
    ...v. Commercial Credit Corp., 230 Minn. 469, 42 N.W.2d 54; Hanson v. Homeland Ins. Co., 232 Minn. 403, 45 N.W.2d 637; Frye and Anderson, 248 Minn. 478, 80 N.W.2d 593. In Frye v. Anderson, supra, we reversed and granted a new trial where the lower court had directed a verdict in favor of the d......
  • 4 B.R. 809 (D.Minn. 1980), 2-75-283, Olsen-Frankman Livestock Marketing Service, Inc. v. Citizens Nat. Bank
    • United States
    • Federal Cases United States District Courts 8th Circuit District of Minnesota
    • 28 Mayo 1980
    ...from raising its security interest as a shield against its own fraud. Equitable estoppel is a rule of substantive law, Frye v. Anderson, 248 Minn. 478, 80 N.W.2d 593 (1957); Minnesota law is therefore applicable. Erie R. Co. v. Tompkins, 304 U.S. 64, 58 S.Ct. 817, 82 L.Ed. 1188 (1938); Busb......
  • 420 N.W.2d 598 (Minn. 1988), C1-87-0144, Bank North v. Soule
    • United States
    • Minnesota Supreme Court of Minnesota
    • 18 Marzo 1988
    ...288 Minn. 386, 181 N.W.2d 113 (1970) (title passes upon physical delivery notwithstanding subsequent dishonored check); Frye v. Anderson, 248 Minn. 478, 487, 80 N.W.2d 593, 599 (1957) (jury may consider facts beyond title to determine ownership). Rebuttal of the statutory presumption was fr......
  • Request a trial to view additional results