Common School District No. 18 v. Twin Falls Bank and Trust Co., 5860

CourtUnited States State Supreme Court of Idaho
Writing for the CourtLEEPER, J.
Citation12 P.2d 774,52 Idaho 200
Decision Date24 June 1932
Docket Number5860
PartiesCOMMON SCHOOL DISTRICT No. 18, IN THE COUNTY OF TWIN FALLS, STATE OF IDAHO, Appellant, v. TWIN FALLS BANK AND TRUST COMPANY, a Corporation, Respondent

12 P.2d 774

52 Idaho 200

COMMON SCHOOL DISTRICT No. 18, IN THE COUNTY OF TWIN FALLS, STATE OF IDAHO, Appellant,
v.

TWIN FALLS BANK AND TRUST COMPANY, a Corporation, Respondent

No. 5860

Supreme Court of Idaho

June 24, 1932


LIMITATION OF ACTIONS-WRONGFUL TAKING-ACTION TO RECOVER.

1. Complaint in action for wrongful taking or withholding of funds, whether sounding in tort or contract, is governed by three-year limitation statute (C. S., sec. 6611, subd. 3).

2. In action for misappropriation of funds, not based on fraud or mistake, time of discovery of such misappropriation held immaterial as respects running of three-year limitation statute (C. S., sec. 6611, subd. 4).

3. Three-year limitation statute runs from original taking of personalty, if taking was wrongful, and from demand therefor, if taking was rightful (C. S., sec. 6611, subd. 3).

APPEAL from the District Court of the Eleventh Judicial District, for Twin Falls County. Hon. Wm. A. Babcock, Judge.

Action to recover damages for the unlawful conversion of money. Judgment for defendant. Affirmed.

Judgment affirmed. Costs to respondent.

Sweeley & Sweeley, for Appellant.

As to the statute of limitations, an action to recover money wrongfully converted and withheld is governed by section 6610 or 6617 of the statute, each of which prescribes a four-year period. (Bannock County v. Bell, 8 Idaho 1, 101 Am. St. 140, 65 P. 710; San Luis Obispo County v. Farnum, 108 Cal. 567, 41 P. 447; Prewett v. First Nat. Bank, 45 Idaho 451, 262 P. 1057; Adams County v. Ritzville State Bank, 154 Wash. 140, 281 P. 332; City of Seattle v. Walker, 87 Wash. 609, 152 P. 330; City of Hillyard, etc., v. Carabin, 96 Wash. 366, 165 P. 381; People v. Weineke, 122 Cal. 535, 55 P. 579; State v. King, 34 Neb. 196, 33 Am. St. 635, 51 N.W. 754; State v. School District, 30 Neb. 520, 27 Am. St. 420, 46 N.W. 613; Colorado Fuel & Iron Co. v. Chappell, 12 Colo. App. 385, 55 P. 606.)

Frank L. Stephan and J. H. Blandford, for Respondent.

Actions for taking, detaining or injuring any goods or chattels, including actions for the specific recovery of personal property, are barred by the statute of limitations unless commenced within three years. (C. S., sec. 6611, subd. 3; Havird v. Lung, 19 Idaho 790, 115 P. 930; 16 Cal. Jur. 446, 447.)

In an action for conversation, when the original taking is alleged to be wrongful, the statute begins to run from the date of the alleged wrongful taking. A right of action accrues in favor of the owner of goods as soon as they are wrongfully taken from his possession. (16 Cal. Jur. 525, sec. 124; Havird v. Lung, supra; Purcell Bank & Trust Co. v. Byars, 66 Okla. 70, 167 P. 216, at 218; Bell v. Bank of California, 153 Cal. 234, 94 P. 889; 24 Cal. Jur. 1032.)

LEEPER, J. Givens and Varian, JJ., and Sutton, D. J., concur, Budge, J., concurs in conclusions.

OPINION [12 P.2d 775]

[52 Idaho 202] LEEPER, J.

The complaint charges the defendant bank with wrongfully acquiring certain funds of the plaintiff district, the wrongful nature of the taking having heretofore been established in two companion cases recently decided by this court. (Common School Dist. No. 27 v. Twin Falls Nat. Bank, 50 Idaho 668, 299 P. 662; Common School Dist. No. 61 v. Twin Falls Bank & Trust Co., 50 Idaho 711, 4 P.2d 342.) The conversion occurred on the nineteenth day of October, 1926. This action was filed on May 15, 1930, less than four years but more than three years after the event. The complaint sets forth the facts and prays for a money judgment. A demurrer was interposed, setting forth that the action was barred under the provisions of subdivisions 3 and 4, sec. 6611, of the Idaho Compiled Statutes--the three-year statute of limitations--which was sustained. Thereafter the plaintiff sought to amend, by adding to the complaint allegations charging money had and received and an implied contract to repay, together with lack of knowledge of the wrongful taking within three years prior to the filing of this action. This complaint was stricken on the ground that plaintiff had elected to sue in tort and was therefore precluded from amending the complaint so as to charge a breach of an implied contract. This appeal is pursued from the orders sustaining the demurrer and striking the amended complaint.

This action is based upon a wrongful conversion, no matter what form the action may take. Appellant takes the position that its original complaint sounds in contract, and seeks to make this more certain by the proposed amendment. It is true that plaintiff may either sue in tort or may waive the tort and sue upon the implied contract for money had and received. The election is immaterial so far as an application of the appropriate statute of limitations is concerned, since the substance of the action governs the latter consideration and not the form. Plaintiff alleges in detail the facts of the conversion perpetrated by the defendant, and seeks recovery therefor. Whether the original complaint [52 Idaho 203] sounded in tort or in contract, the applicable statute of limitations is C. S., sec. 6611, which provides, inter alia,

"Within three years: . . . .

"3. An action for taking, detaining or injuring any goods or chattels, including actions for the specific recovery of personal property.

"4. An action for relief on the ground of fraud or mistake. The cause of action in such case not to be deemed to have accrued until the discovery, by the aggrieved party, of the facts constituting the fraud or mistake."

See Havird v. Lung, 19 Idaho 790, 115 P. 930; 16 Cal. Jur. 446, sec. 54.

Construing correlative statutes, the court of appeals of California said this:

"No doubt the form of the action is one upon an implied contract, but the criterion for determining the particular statute of limitation applicable is, not the form of the action, but the substance of it and the nature of the right, the violation of which creates the right of action. This is particularly true in those jurisdictions where common-law forms of action have been abolished. Bates v. Bates Machinery Co., 230 Ill. 619, 82 N.E. 911, 12 Ann. Cas. 175; Union Tool Company v. Farmers, etc., Nat. Bank, 192 Cal. 40, 28 A. L. R. 1417, 218 P. 424; Bell v. Bank of California, 153 Cal. 234, 94 P. 889; Miller & Lux v. Batz, 131 Cal. 402, 63 P. 680; Lord v. Morris, 18 Cal. 482.

"The substance and nature of the right which gave respondent a cause of action in this case was not contract. Appellant never in fact and reality agreed to pay back the money received for the stock. The contract implied by law is merely a fiction of law and does not, therefore, go to the substance of this cause of action. A fiction of law is introduced to promote justice, and not to work a wrong contrary to the real truth and substance of the thing." (MacDonald v. Reich & Lievre, 100 Cal.App. 736, 281 P. 106.)

[52 Idaho 204] This rule has been sustained in a long line of California cases decided both before and after the foregoing, and hereafter noted.

The statute says "an action." It does not [12 P.2d 776] place the limitation upon an action in tort, but upon any action based upon a wrongful taking, detaining or injuring goods or chattels, or for relief on the ground of fraud or mistake. Any other conclusion would lead to an anomalous situation, with both a three-year and a four-year limitation applying to the same action, depending merely upon the form in which the pleader chose to cast his complaint. While there is conflict in the authorities, the rule which we have announced appears to be sustained both by the weight of authority and the better reasoning. [1]

[52 Idaho 205] In this view of the case it becomes unnecessary to determine whether or not the amendment definitely charging a breach of an implied contract offered by appellant was erroneously rejected. The appellant also sought to amend by alleging that it did not discover the conversion until within the three-year period. The fact of discovery becomes controlling only when the action is based upon the ground of fraud or mistake, and does not have any application to a mere tortious taking which does not involve fraud in its...

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17 practice notes
  • State v. Peterson, 6681
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Idaho
    • December 21, 1939
    ...Co., 47 Idaho 712, 719, 278 P. 214, State v. Naylor, 50 Idaho 113, 294 P. 333, and Common School Dist. No. 18 v. Twin Falls B. & T. Co., 52 Idaho 200, 206, 12 P.2d 774, which like the terms of the statutes themselves might be urged as holding sec. 5-216 a bar herein, such cases did not cons......
  • Klam v. Koppel, 6830
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Idaho
    • October 25, 1941
    ...to be converted." While the case involved the statute of limitations, this court held in School District No. 18 v. Twin Falls B. & T. Co., 52 Idaho 200, 207, 12 P.2d 774 (a conversion case), that: "If the taking was originally wrongful [as in the case at bar], no demand is necessary before ......
  • Wallace v. Perry, No. 7936
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Idaho
    • May 11, 1953
    ...v. Gordon, 68 Idaho 254, 192 P.2d 856. That case relied on Common School Dist. No. 18 in County of Twin Falls v. Twin Falls B. & T. Co., 52 Idaho 200, 12 P.2d 774, where Judge Leeper exhaustively reviewed the diverse authorities. Thus, the Court advisedly adopted the rule that the fraud sta......
  • Compton v. Evans, 27421.
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Washington
    • August 11, 1939
    ...of the right the violation of which creates the right of action. Common School District No. 18 v. Twin Falls State Bank & Trust Co., 52 Idaho 200, 12 P.2d 774; Bates v. Bates Machinery Co., 230 Ill. 619, 82 N.E. 911, 12 Ann.Cas. 174, 175; Union Tool Co. v. Farmers', etc., Nat. Bank, 192 Cal......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
17 cases
  • State v. Peterson, 6681
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Idaho
    • December 21, 1939
    ...Co., 47 Idaho 712, 719, 278 P. 214, State v. Naylor, 50 Idaho 113, 294 P. 333, and Common School Dist. No. 18 v. Twin Falls B. & T. Co., 52 Idaho 200, 206, 12 P.2d 774, which like the terms of the statutes themselves might be urged as holding sec. 5-216 a bar herein, such cases did not cons......
  • Klam v. Koppel, 6830
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Idaho
    • October 25, 1941
    ...to be converted." While the case involved the statute of limitations, this court held in School District No. 18 v. Twin Falls B. & T. Co., 52 Idaho 200, 207, 12 P.2d 774 (a conversion case), that: "If the taking was originally wrongful [as in the case at bar], no demand is necessary before ......
  • Wallace v. Perry, No. 7936
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Idaho
    • May 11, 1953
    ...v. Gordon, 68 Idaho 254, 192 P.2d 856. That case relied on Common School Dist. No. 18 in County of Twin Falls v. Twin Falls B. & T. Co., 52 Idaho 200, 12 P.2d 774, where Judge Leeper exhaustively reviewed the diverse authorities. Thus, the Court advisedly adopted the rule that the fraud sta......
  • Anderson v. Ferguson, 6181
    • United States
    • Idaho Supreme Court
    • April 21, 1936
    ...at the time of the levy of attachment. (Havird v. Lung, 19 Idaho 790, 115 P. 930; Common School Dist. No. 18 v. Twin Falls B. & T. Co., 52 Idaho 200, 12 P.2d 774.) Statutes of limitations begin to run at the time the cause of action accrues. (Common School Dist. No. 18 v. Twin Falls B. & T.......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

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