Equitable Trust Co. Of D.C. v. D.C. Nat. Bank, (No. 12398.)

CourtUnited States State Supreme Court of South Carolina
Writing for the CourtBLEASE
Citation142 S.E. 811
PartiesEQUITABLE TRUST CO. OF COLUMBIA. v. COLUMBIA NAT. BANK et al.
Docket Number(No. 12398.)
Decision Date15 March 1928

142 S.E. 811

EQUITABLE TRUST CO. OF COLUMBIA.
v.
COLUMBIA NAT. BANK et al.

(No. 12398.)

Supreme Court of South Carolina.

March 15, 1928.


[142 S.E. 812]

Cothran and Carter, JJ., dissenting.

Appeal from Common Pleas Circuit Court of Richland County; W. H. Townsend, Judge.

Action by the Equitable Trust Company of Columbia against the Columbia National Bank, the Palmetto National Bank of Columbia, and another. Judgment for plaintiff, and named defendants appeal. Affirmed.

Following are the charge of the circuit judge and the exceptions:

Judge's Charge to the Jury.

Mr. Foreman and gentlemen of the jury, the plaintiff, Equitable Trust Company, claims it was in 1020, and still is, the owner of 25 shares of the capital stock of the Commercial Investment Company, which it claims to have acquired by purchase for $25,000 in that year. The defendants deny these claims, and the burden is on plaintiff to prove such ownership, by the greater weight of the evidence. If the Equitable Trust Company never became or is not the owner of any stock in the Commercial Investment Company, it can recover nothing in this action, and in such case, your verdict should be in favor of the defendants.

If the Equitable Trust Company is the owner of the 25 shares, the next issue to be determined by you is whether or not any one of the defendants sued; that is, the Palmetto National Bank, or the Columbia National Bank converted any interest in the lot and building described in the complaint, belonging to the Equitable Trust Company, as a stockholder in the Commercial Investment Company.

A conversion is an exercise of dominion and control over property inconsistent with, or in denial of, the rights of the true owner. It is wrongful exercise of such a claim or right or dominion over the property as assumes that the claimant is entitled to the possession or to deprive another party of it. The very assuming to one's self the property and right of disposing of another man's goods is a conversion.

It is admitted that in 1920 the Commercial Investment Company owned the lot and buildings described in the complaint, subject to the lien of mortgages thereon—the amount due on which is to be ascertained from the evidence.

The defendants admit that in 1922 the Palmetto National Bank owned nine-tenths of the stock in the investment company, and claim that in June, 1922, the investment company owned the Palmetto National Bank $208,108.01, and that the investment company then conveyed said lot and building to the said bank in satisfaction of said debt due the said bank.

The plaintiff claims that said bank conveyed said property to itself, in satisfaction of its own claims, without notice to, or consent of, plaintiff, and in conscious violation of the known rights of the plaintiff.

If the plaintiff was then the owner of 25 shares of the capital stock of the investment company and the Palmetto National Bank then owned the remaining stock and then knew that the plaintiff owned the minority stock in the investment company, and, so knowing, in violation of known rights of the plaintiff, undertook as owner of the majority stock to convey to the bank all the property of the investment company, in settlement of a debt due the bank without notice to, or consent of, the plaintiff, such conduct on the part of the Palmetto National Bank, in conscious violation of known rights of the plaintiff, if the plaintiff had such rights, would amount to a wrong and a conversion of the property in violation of plaintiff's rights, and would entitle the plaintiff to recover as damages against the wrongdoer such sum as would compensate the plaintiff for any loss thereby occasioned it. If the plaintiff proves that either defendant, or both defendants, have converted any property or interest in property belonging to plaintiff, mentioned in the complaint, then the plaintiff should prove that it has been injured or lost something of value by reason of such conversion. The measure of actual damages in case of property converted is the value of the property converted and lost to the owner. And, in case of a willful conversion, the jury may take the highest value of the property converted between the time of the conversion and the time of trial as the measure of damages.

Under the agreement in evidence dated 16th of July, 1923, between the Palmetto National Bank and the Columbia National Bank, the Palmetto National Bank turned over all its assets to the Columbia National Bank in consideration of the Columbia National Bank assuming the payment of all of the debts and other liabilities of every kind, nature, and description of the Palmetto National Bank, as shown by the books of that bank, other than the liability to the stockholders as such. But this assumption of liability in said written contract does not render the Columbia National Bank liable to plaintiff on the claim now sued on, as this claim or liability is not shown by the books of the bank, as required by said agreement.

The lot and building in question was conveyed by the Palmetto National Bank to the Columbia National Bank under the said agreement of the 16th of July, 1923, and under such conveyance the Columbia National Bank acquired whatever title and rights were then held by the Palmetto National Bank in said lot and building.

It is admitted, that in June or July, 1924, the Columbia National Bank sold the lot and building in question to Mauldin and Matthews, and subsequently conveyed the lot to their assignee. If the plaintiff was, when such sale was made, and is, the owner of the 25 shares of stock in the Commercial Investment Company, and the conveyance of the lot and building had been made in violation of known rights of plaintiff to the Palmetto National Bank by itself in satisfaction of a debt due it without notice to or consent of the plaintiff, when the plaintiff would still have an interest in the property which it might have asserted in the courts, and if the Columbia National Bank knew, or had notice, of the in-

[142 S.E. 813]

terest of the plaintiff in said property, when it sold same to Mauldin and Matthews, then, if such sale was made by the Columbia National Bank in conscious violation of known rights of the plaintiff, then such sale would amount to a conversion, and would entitle the plaintiff to recover from the Columbia National Bank such damages as would compensate the plaintiff for any injury thereby caused to it.

If either the Palmetto National Bank or the Columbia National Bank, or both of them, have been guilty of converting property belonging to plaintiff as alleged in the complaint willfully, in conscious violation of known rights of plaintiff, then the defendant so guilty would be liable, not only for any actual damages occasioned by the conversion to plaintiff, to he measured by the market value of the property or interest converted, at such time as the jury may select between the time of the conversion and of this trial, but also for such punitive damages as the jury may find from the evidence would be proper punishment for a defendant found guilty of such willful conversion.

If you find the plaintiff is entitled to recover damages against both the Palmetto National Bank and the Columbia National Bank, the form of your verdict would be, "We find for plaintiff so many dollars, stating the amount, actual damages;" and, if you find plaintiff is also entitled to recover punitive damages against both defendants, you would add, "and so many dollars, punitive damages, " stating the amounts, if you find any, of actual and punitive damages separately.

If you find one of the banks liable for damages, but not the other, name in your verdict the one you may find liable.

If you find neither bank liable to plaintiff, the form of your verdict would be, "We find for defendants."

Now whatever verdict you find, write it on the back of this blue paper, marked "Summons and Complaint."

I was going to give you an envelope, so that you could bring in a sealed verdict on Friday morning, but I will wait on you a little while to see if you will agree. Now, should you be detained longer than I am here, I will give you an envelope, so that, when you arrive at a verdict, you could put it in an envelope, seal it up, and come back Friday morning, and if, in your deliberation, you find that you should need any further instructions, or if you have any difficulty in agreeing, you may communicate same to me, and I will come back.

Mr. McLain: My understanding is, that I should call your attention to the issues, so that you may charge certain things—

The Court: Yes, sir.

Mr. McLain: I did not hear you charge the jury anything about estoppel or laches.

The Court: I will charge that to them now, but you should have directed my attention to it by a written request to charge.

Mr. McLain: I don't think so.

The Court: All right, sir. If you find that the Equitable Trust Company was the owner of the 25 shares of stock in the Commercial Investment Company, claimed by it, and find that the defendants or either of them have disposed of the property or interest belonging to the plaintiff in violation of the rights of the plaintiff, and if you should further find that Equitable Trust Company or its officers or agents, acting for it, was guilty of any act or conduct which misled the defendants into making the sale in question, then such conduct on the part of the Equitable Trust Company would estop them from claiming damages. Is that the only issue that you raise, Mr. McLain?

Mr. McLain: Yes, sir.

The Court: As to estoppel, I think that covers it. You can retire, Mr. Foreman and gentlemen, and consider your verdict.

Exceptions.

The defendants Columbia National Bank individually and as liquidating agent of the Palmetto National Bank of Columbia, the Palmetto National Bank of Columbia, and the Commercial Investment Company, except upon the following grounds:

1. Because the presiding judge erred in permitting the witness A. M. Lumpkin to testify...

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16 practice notes
  • Stoneman v. United Nebraska Bank, No. S-96-941
    • United States
    • Supreme Court of Nebraska
    • April 17, 1998
    ...right could be invoked as readily in the banking context as in any other. Equitable Trust Co. v. Columbia National Bank, 145 S.C. 91, 142 S.E. 811 (1928). See, also, Baugh v. [254 Neb. 489] Citizens & Southern National Bank, 248 Ga. 180, 281 S.E.2d 531 (1981) (applying dissenter's rights Th......
  • Peurifoy v. Loyal, (No. 12818.)
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of South Carolina
    • January 24, 1930
    ...to the bank. We think that it has been settled by the opinion of this court in the case of Equitable Trust Co. v. Bank, 145 S. C. 91, 142 S. E. 811, 818, quoting Fletcher, Corp. § 2216: "Notice given to the cashier of a bank, or to the president of a bank or other officer or agent having ge......
  • Mortgage Loan Co v. Townsend, No. 12899.
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of South Carolina
    • April 18, 1930
    ...516, 540, 141 S. E. 705; Stahn v. Catawaba Mills, 53 S. C. 519, 31 S. E. 498; Equitable Trust Co. v. Columbia Nat'l Bank, 145 S. C. 91, 142 S. E. 811, 820. The State Bank Examiner was appointed receiver for the trust company on 15th January 1927, and under authority given him by the court, ......
  • Greenspahn v. Joseph E. Seagram & Sons, No. 8-100
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (2nd Circuit)
    • January 22, 1951
    ...N.E 370. 9 See Hale v. Windsor Savings Bank, 90 Vt. 487, 494, 98 A. 993; Equitable Trust Co. v. Columbia National Bank, 145 S.C. 91, M, 142 S.E. 811. 10 Restatement of Contracts, § 359(2). 11 5 Williston, Contracts, Rev. ed. § 1436; World Exhibit Corp. v. City Bank Farmers Trust Co., 270 Ap......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
16 cases
  • Stoneman v. United Nebraska Bank, No. S-96-941
    • United States
    • Supreme Court of Nebraska
    • April 17, 1998
    ...right could be invoked as readily in the banking context as in any other. Equitable Trust Co. v. Columbia National Bank, 145 S.C. 91, 142 S.E. 811 (1928). See, also, Baugh v. [254 Neb. 489] Citizens & Southern National Bank, 248 Ga. 180, 281 S.E.2d 531 (1981) (applying dissenter's rights Th......
  • Peurifoy v. Loyal, (No. 12818.)
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of South Carolina
    • January 24, 1930
    ...to the bank. We think that it has been settled by the opinion of this court in the case of Equitable Trust Co. v. Bank, 145 S. C. 91, 142 S. E. 811, 818, quoting Fletcher, Corp. § 2216: "Notice given to the cashier of a bank, or to the president of a bank or other officer or agent having ge......
  • Mortgage Loan Co v. Townsend, No. 12899.
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of South Carolina
    • April 18, 1930
    ...516, 540, 141 S. E. 705; Stahn v. Catawaba Mills, 53 S. C. 519, 31 S. E. 498; Equitable Trust Co. v. Columbia Nat'l Bank, 145 S. C. 91, 142 S. E. 811, 820. The State Bank Examiner was appointed receiver for the trust company on 15th January 1927, and under authority given him by the court, ......
  • Greenspahn v. Joseph E. Seagram & Sons, No. 8-100
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (2nd Circuit)
    • January 22, 1951
    ...N.E 370. 9 See Hale v. Windsor Savings Bank, 90 Vt. 487, 494, 98 A. 993; Equitable Trust Co. v. Columbia National Bank, 145 S.C. 91, M, 142 S.E. 811. 10 Restatement of Contracts, § 359(2). 11 5 Williston, Contracts, Rev. ed. § 1436; World Exhibit Corp. v. City Bank Farmers Trust Co., 270 Ap......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

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