Charles Ringling Co. v. Muirheid

Decision Date23 March 1931
Citation101 Fla. 1215,133 So. 108
CourtFlorida Supreme Court

Error to Circuit Court, Sarasota County; Paul C. Albritton, Judge.

Action by the Charles Ringling Company against B. C. Muirheid. Plaintiff obtained a judgment and levied an execution upon a certain automobile, and Helen S. Curchin filed a claim affidavit, and subsequently filed a claim bond. To review a judgment in favor of the claimant, plaintiff brings error.

Reversed and cause remanded, with directions.

Syllabus by the Court.


If the goods seized were in the possession of plaintiffs at the time of seizure, it is prima facie evidence that the ownership was in them, and it devolves upon the defendant to establish the contrary.

One who has once been the owner of personal property and has the same in his possession and continues in uninterrupted possession of that property is presumed to be the owner, and this presumption must be overcome by sufficient evidence to convince the jury that he, the former owner continuing in possession, has not remained the owner of the property.

The evidence in this case fails to establish a consummated sale of personal property. It merely establishes that the defendant in execution agreed to give the claimant the automobile in satisfaction of a debt due from the defendant in execution to the claimant and that the claimant agreed to accept such settlement, but there is no evidence that this agreement was ever consummated by a transfer of the property either by written binding agreement or by delivery thereof to the claimant.

The rule established in this state is that when it is shown in the event of an absolute sale of personal property that the vendor has continued in the possession of the same, and the vendee has in no way assumed possession, the burden rests upon the latter to show that the former's possession is either consistent with the deed, is unavoidable, temporary or for the reasonable convenience of the purchaser. In such case, without evidence explaining the possession of the vendor, a verdict sustaining the sale would be contrary to the evidence.

The continued possession and use of personal property by the vendor for his own use is inconsistent with a bona fide sale of the property, and requires satisfactory proof in explanation of such possession and use. The bona fides of such a transaction is a question to be submitted to a jury.


Early & Arnest, of Sarasota, for plaintiff in error.

Harrison E. Barringer, of Sarasota, for defendant in error.



In this case judgment was procured by the plaintiff in error against the defendant in error, Muirheid. Execution was issued and levied on a certain automobile on the 16th day of January 1929. Helen S. Curchin, acting through her agent, Muirheid, filed claim affidavit for the automobile on the 16th day of January, 1929, and later filed a claim bond. Trial was had on the claim. Muirheid testified that he had been indebted to the claimant, who was his daughter, in the sum of $1,000; had paid $500 on the indebtedness and in April, 1928, owed the claimant a balance of $500; and that he, in a letter, offered to give her the automobile in settlement of the balance of the claim and that she accepted the offer. Claimant lived in New Jersey. Muirheid had a title certificate issued in the name of the claimant. The automobile remained in the possession of Muirheid in Sarasota county, Fla., until it was levied on under execution on the 16th day of January, 1929. The claimant testified to the same state of facts, and both witnesses explained the continued...

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4 cases
  • Stone v. Commissioner
    • United States
    • U.S. Tax Court
    • December 17, 1984
    ...Terrace Assets Co., Inc. v. Wason, 163 So. 72, 75 (Fla. 1935); Jones v. Wear, 149 So. 345, 348 (Fla. 1933); Charles Ringling Co.v. Muirheid, 133 So. 108, 109 (Fla. 1931); Volusia County Bank v. Bertola, 33 So. 448, 449 (Fla. 1902). The alleged consideration here was nothing more than "feign......
  • In re Cogswell
    • United States
    • U.S. Bankruptcy Court — Middle District of Florida
    • September 17, 2020
    ...691, 693 (1911) (explaining that "possession of personal property is prima facie evidence of ownership"); Charles Ringling Co. v. Muirheid , 101 Fla. 1215, 133 So. 108, 109 (1931) (explaining that "[o]ne who has once been the owner of personal property and has the same in his possession and......
  • Gus' Baths, Inc. v. Lightbown
    • United States
    • Florida Supreme Court
    • May 29, 1931
  • In re Blitstein, Bankruptcy No. 88-00820-BKC-SMW
    • United States
    • U.S. Bankruptcy Court — Southern District of Florida
    • September 19, 1989
    ...supra. Scott v. Dansby, 334 So.2d 331 (1st DCA Fla.1976). Gyorok v. Davis, 183 So.2d 701 (3rd DCA Fla.1966). Charles Ringling Company v. Muirheid, 101 Fla. 1215, 133 So. 108 (1931). Neal v. Gregory, 19 Fla. 356 The presumptions raised by these "Badges of Fraud" were in no way effectively re......

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