Cardozo v. Fawcett, 23,727

CourtSupreme Court of Minnesota (US)
Writing for the CourtTAYLOR, C.
Citation196 N.W. 809,158 Minn. 57
Docket Number23,727
Decision Date18 January 1924

196 N.W. 809

158 Minn. 57


No. 23,727

Supreme Court of Minnesota

January 18, 1924

Action in the district court for Ramsey county for restitution of two auditor's warrants or for $3,000, the value thereof. The case was tried before Michael, J., who when plaintiff rested denied defendant's motion to dismiss and at the close of the testimony plaintiff's and defendant's motions for directed verdicts, and a jury which returned a verdict in favor of plaintiff for the possession of the property or for $3,276.50. From an order denying his motion for judgment notwithstanding the verdict or for a new trial, defendant appealed. Affirmed.


Negotiability of county warrants.

1. County warrants drawn on a special fund and indorsed by the treasurer, "not paid for want of funds," are not negotiable instruments.

Recovery of warrants from good faith purchaser.

2. Where such warrants, indorsed in blank by the payee, are sold to a person who thereafter places them in the hands of an agent for collection, and such agent, instead of collecting them, wrongfully sells them to a good faith purchaser, the owner may recover them from such purchaser.

Owner not estopped by delivery to agent for collection.

3. Although the indorsement of the payee made them transferable by delivery, merely intrusting them to an agent for collection is not such conduct on the part of the owner as will estop him from reclaiming them from a purchaser from such agent.

L. O. Rue and Charles F. Kelly, for appellant.

Ambrose Tighe and O. H. O'Neill, for respondent.

OPINION [196 N.W. 810]

[158 Minn. 58] TAYLOR, C.

Action in replevin to recover possession of two auditor's warrants drawn by the auditor of Cass county on the treasurer of that county, one for the sum of $1,000; the other for the sum of $2,000. The warrants were issued October 19, 1921, and directed the treasurer to pay the amounts thereof to the order of L. & L. Construction Company and charge to a designated special road fund, "If there is money in the treasury for that purpose." A clause inserted in the warrants indicated that the claim had been assigned to the Citizens State Bank of Kelliher. On October 21, 1921, the treasurer indorsed upon the warrants: "presented for payment and not paid for want of funds." Shortly thereafter they were indorsed in blank, without recourse, by the bank and by the construction company, and became the property of Stevens & Company, a corporation engaged in the business of buying and selling securities. In November, 1921, Stevens & Company sold and delivered them to plaintiff who took them without any other or further indorsement than above stated.

On February 18, 1922, Stevens & Company wrote plaintiff that the warrants had been called for payment and offered to collect [158 Minn. 59] them for him from the county. Plaintiff, through his broker, sent the warrants to Stevens & Company with instructions to send them to the county for payment and remit the proceeds to him.

On February 23, 1922, Stevens & Company sold the warrants to defendant who purchased them for full value believing that Stevens & Company owned them. On the same day Stevens & Company sent plaintiff their check for the amount of the warrants which plaintiff deposited for credit to his account. A few days later the check was returned by the bank on which it was drawn unpaid for want of funds. Shortly thereafter Stevens & Company was adjudged a bankrupt. Plaintiff filed a claim for the amount of the check in the bankruptcy proceedings. Learning thereafter that the warrants had not been called for payment by the county, and that Stevens & Company had not sent them to county officials nor collected them, but had sold them to defendant, plaintiff demanded the warrants from defendant and brought...

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