Carter v. Superior Court in and for Los Angeles County

Decision Date08 March 1950
Citation215 P.2d 491,96 Cal.App.2d 388
CourtCalifornia Court of Appeals Court of Appeals
Parties. Civ. 17474. District Court of Appeal, Second District, Division 3, California

A. W. Brunton and Lauren M. Handley, Los Angeles, for petitioner.

Harold W. Kennedy, County Counsel, William E. Lamoreaux, Deputy County Counsel, Los Angeles, for respondents.

Bromley, Ritter & Lindersmith, Frank E. Carleton, Los Angeles, for Seaboard Finance Co., real party in interest.

SHINN, Presiding Justice.

Austin Carter petitions for a writ of mandate by which it is sought to require the superior court to proceed to judgment in an action he has pending against Seaboard Finance Company without entertaining and determining issues raised by defendant's amended and supplemental answers. The ground upon which he seeks relief is that the Supreme Court heretofore rendered its judgment by which it reversed in part a judgment rendered in favor of defendant and limited the issues to be retried in the superior court. Plaintiff's action is for money. His complaint alleged three causes of action all arising out of a single transaction in which he purchased four motor vehicles and in connection therewith executed to Seaboard his note and chattel mortgage. The facts of the case are considerably involved. They are set out in full in Carter v. Seaboard Finance Co., 33 Cal.2d 564, 203 P.2d 758. Briefly stated, the decision of the Supreme Court was that the chattel mortgage was in law a conditional agreement for the sale of motor vehicles, as defined by section 2981(a) Civil Code; that it was valid as to two of the vehicles and invalid as to the other two. Plaintiff's demand for the recovery of money paid under an allegedly invalid agreement was asserted in the second cause of action of his complaint. The judgment of the Supreme Court, 33 Cal.2d at page 588, 203 P.2d at page 773, reads in part as follows: 'The judgment on the second cause of action is reversed with directions to the trial court to determine the sums due to the plaintiff on the unenforceable portion of the contract relating to the Sterling and Freuhauf vehicles and enter judgment accordingly.'

Under this direction of the Supreme Court the superior court will be required to determine nothing except the amount that is recoverable by plaintiff in the transaction with respect to his purchase of the Sterling and Freuhauf vehicles. However, defendant has now filed amended and supplemental answers asserting counterclaims against plaintiff arising out of the same transaction, by which it seeks to recover a money judgment from plaintiff. It appears from the answers that are now before the court that with respect to the enforceable portion of the chattel mortgage Seaboard has sold a Cummins truck and a Waber trailer under a power of sale, has applied the amount received upon the amount claimed by it to be allocable to the lien on those two vehicles, and that there remains a large deficiency which plaintiff is obligated by the mortgage to pay. Plaintiff made motions to strike these amended and supplemental answers upon the ground that the superior court must follow the specific directions of the Supreme Court and may not try other issues. The motions have been denied, and the court is proceeding with a purpose to adjudicate all claims of the respective parties arising out of the transaction.

The major question discussed in the briefs is whether the judgment of the Supreme Court should be given literal effect, thereby limiting the powers of the superior court to the ascertainment of the sum that may be found due to plaintiff upon the unenforceable portion of the contract. Seaboard insists that it was not the intention of the Supreme Court to thus limit the issues to be tried and, further, that it will suffer irreparable injury and loss if it is not allowed to offset its claims for the deficiency and other claims against any jdugment plaintiff may recover.

The original trial in the superior court ended February 17, 1947, when judgment was entered in favor of defendant. In the supplemental answer it is alleged that on July 2, 1947, defendant sold a Cummins diesel truck and a Weber trailer under power of sale contained in the mortgage for $5,000; that $8,239.17 was the sum attributable to these two vehicles in the loan transaction and was their reasonable value at that time; that the sale of the vehicles left a deficiency in the amount of $4,631.49 and that said sum remains wholly unpaid. Other special defenses set up counterclaims for money had and received in the amounts of $3,635.95 and $4,631.49. It thus appears that defendant's counterclaim for the deficiency did not arise until some months after judgment had been entered in favor of defendant. No counterclaim for money had and received was filed by defendant prior to the judgment granted in February, 1947. Under the original pleadings as they stood during the pendency of the appeal and at the time of the decision by the Supreme Court, the sole issue under the second cause of action of the complaint was whether plaintiff was entitled to recover certain sums of money from defendant. (There were other causes of action as to which the judgment in favor of defendant was affirmed.)

In the early case of Keller v. Lewis, 56 Cal. 466, it was held that upon a judgment of reversal by the Supreme Court with directions to the court below to render a decree in accordance with the views therein expressed the court below had but to follow the direction thus given and that the trial court properly refused to allow new issues to be framed by supplemental pleadings. The courts have repeatedly adhered strictly to the rule. It was expressed by the Supreme Court in Rice v. Schmid, 25 Cal.2d 259, 263, 153 P.2d 313, 315, as follows: 'Where a reviewing court reverses a judgment with directions to determine damages in accordance with the rules set forth in its opinion and to enter judgment for the plaintiff, the trial court is bound by the directions given and has no authority to retry any other issue or to make any other findings. Its authority is limited wholly and solely to following the directions of the reviewing court. Cowdery v. London, etc., Bank, 139 Cal. 298, 307, 73 P. 196, 96 Am.St.Rep. 115; Weaver v. San Francisco, 146 Cal. 728, 732, 81 P. 119; English v. Olympic Auditorium, Inc., 10 Cal.App.2d 196, 201, 52 P.2d 267.' Any proceedings had or judgment rendered contrary to such specific directions would be void. Snoffer v. City of Los Angeles, 14 Cal.App.2d 650, 58 P.2d 961; Phillips v. Patterson, 34 Cal.App.2d 481, 93 P.2d 807.

It is equally well settled that when the trial court is about to exceed its authority by proceeding otherwise than in accordance with directions given with respect to the issues to be tried, or judgment to be entered, either mandate or prohibition is a proper remedy to compel obedience to such directions. Lamb v....

To continue reading

Request your trial
18 cases
  • People v. Dutra
    • United States
    • California Court of Appeals Court of Appeals
    • December 20, 2006
    ...259, 263, 153 P.2d 313 (Rice); see Tsarnas v. Bailey (1962) 205 Cal. App.2d 593, 595, 23 Cal.Rptr. 336; Carter v. Superior Court (1950) 96 Cal. App.2d 388, 391, 215 P.2d 491 ["The courts have repeatedly adhered strictly to the rule.... Any proceedings had or judgment rendered contrary to su......
  • Mefford v. Gardner
    • United States
    • U.S. Court of Appeals — Sixth Circuit
    • August 17, 1967
    ...any proceedings had or judgment rendered contrary to such specific directions would be void. Carter v. Superior Court in and for Los Angeles County, 96 Cal.App.2d 388, 215 P.2d 491. "When a judgment has been reviewed by an appellate court and the cause remanded, it is the duty of the lower ......
  • Bach v. County of Butte
    • United States
    • California Court of Appeals Court of Appeals
    • November 6, 1989
    ...655-656, 242 P.2d 1; No Oil, Inc. v. City of Los Angeles (1984) 153 Cal.App.3d 998, 1004, 200 Cal.Rptr. 768; Carter v. Superior Court (1950) 96 Cal.App.2d 388, 391, 215 P.2d 491; Lial v. Superior Court (1933) 133 Cal.App. 31, 33-34, 23 P.2d Bach I concluded with the following directive to t......
  • Johnstone v. Sanborn
    • United States
    • Montana Supreme Court
    • December 16, 1960
    ...nor retry the case, and if it should do so, the judgment rendered thereon would be void.' In Carter v. Superior Court, 96 Cal.App.2d 388, at page 391, 215 P.2d 491, at page 493, it is 'In the early case of Keller v. Lewis, 56 Cal. 466, it was held that upon a judgment of reversal by the Sup......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

VLEX uses login cookies to provide you with a better browsing experience. If you click on 'Accept' or continue browsing this site we consider that you accept our cookie policy. ACCEPT