Geo. A. Clark & Son Inc. v. Nold, No. 10819

CourtSupreme Court of South Dakota
Writing for the CourtRENTTO; In commenting on a group of cases in another regard; WOLLMAN; WOLLMAN
Citation85 S.D. 468,185 N.W.2d 677
PartiesGEO A. CLARK & SON INC., a Corporation, Plaintiff-Appellant, v. F. W. NOLD and Helen A. Nold, Defendants-Respondents.
Decision Date13 April 1971
Docket NumberNo. 10819

Page 677

185 N.W.2d 677
85 S.D. 468
GEO A. CLARK & SON INC., a Corporation,
Plaintiff-Appellant,
v.
F. W. NOLD and Helen A. Nold, Defendants-Respondents.
No. 10819.
Supreme Court of South Dakota.
April 13, 1971.

[85 S.D. 469]

Page 678

Maloney, Kolker & Kolker, Aberdeen, Culhane & Culhane, Minneapolis, Minn., for plaintiff-appellant.

[85 S.D. 470] Ericsson, Spencer & Blair, Madison, for defendants-respondents.

RENTTO, Presiding Judge.

Plaintiff, a creditor of the bankrupt former owner of the real estate involved, claiming a lien thereon instituted this action against the defendants who purchased it from the trustee in bankruptcy, to have determined their respective interest in it. The judgment of the trial court held plaintiff's claim of lien to be of no force and effect and discharged it. From this determination it appeals.

In 1957 Stanley O. Vetos became the owner of the property which consists of two improved residential lots in Madison, Lake County, South Dakota. On May 5, 1967 Geo. A. Clark & Son Inc., plaintiff herein, started an action in Lake County on a promissory note against Vetos, who was then not a resident of this state, but a resident of Wisconsin. In connection therewith it had issued a writ of attachment and on May 8th it caused these two lots to be attached. On February 27, 1968 judgment for it was entered on the note for $6,758.39. Neither the bankrupt nor the trustee appeared in that action.

On June 8, 1967 Vetos filed a voluntary petition in bankruptcy in Wisconsin and was adjudicated a bankrupt. On September 8th the trustee in bankruptcy, pursuant to an order of the referee, sold at private sale the lots in question to F. W. Nold and Helen A. Nold for.$17,250. The deed conveyed them free of all claims of lien, but apparently because of the manner in which the sale proceeding was had this provision was beyond his authority. The lots had been appraised in the bankruptcy at $20,032. Of the purchase price received by the trustee $15,730.40 was paid to the Madison Building & Loan Association in payment of a prior mortgage on the property held by it and certain expenses it had incurred as mortgagee. The balance was retained by the trustee as an asset of the bankrupt estate.

While the Nolds have asserted several defenses as to the claimed attachment lien of the appellant, they rely principally on the proposition that since it was obtained within four [85 S.D. 471] months before the filing of Vetos' petition in bankruptcy it is null and void under the provisions of the Federal Bankruptcy Law. Concerning this, appellant argues that only the trustee may assert such invalidity. The Nolds' earlier ground of defense that the property was sold to them free and clear of liens appears to have been abandoned.

Basic to our problem is the provision of the bankruptcy law now codified as 11 U.S.C.A. § 107. It provides in part as follows:

'(a) (1) Every lien against the property of a person obtained by attachment, judgment, levy, or other legal or equitable process or proceedings within four months before the filing of a petition initiating a proceeding under this title by or against such person shall be deemed

Page 679

null and void (a) if at the time when such lien was obtained such person was insolvent or (b) if such lien was sought and permitted in fraud of the provisions of this title: Provided, however, That if such person is not finally adjudged a bankrupt in any proceeding under this title and if no arrangement or plan is proposed and confirmed, such lien shall be deemed reinstated with the same effect as if it had not been nullified and voided.'

This provision of § 107 was formerly a portion of § 67(f) of the Bankruptcy Act of 1898.

While it was thought by some that the adjudication operated automatically to nullify the proscribed liens, that view no longer prevails. The contrary is logically compelled when it is recognized that issues of the fact must be resolved before it can be said that a lien under this section is void. Taubel-Scott-Kitzmiller Co. v. Fox, 264 U.S. 426, 44 S.Ct. 396, 68 L.Ed. 770. Among these are the questions as to whether the bankrupt was insolvent when the lien was created and whether it was one of the type of liens listed in the statute and was acquired within four months of the filing of the petition. Collier on Bankruptcy, 14th Ed., § 67.05. In other words, they are only voidable.

[85 S.D. 472] The purpose of this section is to prevent one creditor being preferred over the others or obtaining an advantage. 8A C.J.S. Bankruptcy § 245a(1); 9 Am.Jur.2d, Bankruptcy, § 1031. It does not avoid liens as against all the world, but only as against the trustee and those claiming under him. 8A C.J.S. Bankruptcy § 245 b; 9 Am.Jur.2d, Bankruptcy, § 1042. So long as the property subject to the claimed lien is in the bankrupt estate the trustee is the proper person to either preserve the lien for the benefit of the estate or avoid it. As to property set aside as exempt it is for the bankrupt to avoid the lien. Roquemore v. Goldstein, 100 Ga.App. 591, 112 S.E.2d 24. The lots in controversy were not claimed by him as exempt property.

It seems to us that where the property was sold by the trustee, as was done here, that the purchaser has standing to seek avoidance of liens falling within the proscription of § 107(a)(1). He is a party claiming under the trustee. Finney v. Knapp Co., 145 Ga. 400, 89 S.E. 413; Fischer v. Pauline Oil & Gas Co., 309 U.S. 294, 60 S.Ct. 535, 84 L.Ed. 764; same case on remand, 191 Okl. 346, 130 P.2d 305; Branch v. Human, 215 Ga. 209, 109 S.E.2d 732; 8A C.J.S. Bankruptcy § 245(4)b. To hold otherwise in the circumstances of this case would be inequitable and in effect prefer the appellant as a creditor of the bankrupt....

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25 practice notes
  • First Nat. Bank of Biwabik Minnesota v. Bank of Lemmon, Nos. 18816
    • United States
    • Supreme Court of South Dakota
    • February 14, 1995
    ...Ayres v. Junek, 247 N.W.2d 488 (S.D.1976); Walsh v. Shoulders, 87 S.D. 270, 206 N.W.2d 60 (1973); Geo. A. Clark and Son, Inc. v. Nold, 85 S.D. 468, 185 N.W.2d 677 (1971), cert. denied, 404 U.S. 833, 92 S.Ct. 82, 30 L.Ed.2d 63 (1971); Davis v. Interstate Motor Carriers, 85 S.D. 101, 178 N.W.......
  • In re Dokken, No. 20856.
    • United States
    • Supreme Court of South Dakota
    • January 19, 2000
    ...Laboratories, Inc., 254 N.W.2d 133, 140-41 (S.D.1977); Ayres v. Junek, 247 N.W.2d 488, 490 (S.D.1976); Geo. A. Clark & Son, Inc. v. Nold, 85 S.D. 468, 185 N.W.2d 677, 680 (S.D.1971), cert. denied 404 U.S. 833, 92 S.Ct. 82, 30 L.Ed.2d 63 [¶ 56.] Since 1956, Dokken has been diagnosed with sch......
  • Peterson v. State, No. 12092
    • United States
    • Supreme Court of South Dakota
    • December 30, 1977
    ...here was in no better position to find facts from a written record of testimony than is this court on appeal. Clark & Son v. Nold et al., 85 S.D. 468, 185 N.W.2d 677 (1971), cert. denied, 404 U.S. 833, 92 S.Ct. 82, 30 L.Ed.2d 63 The legal issue before the trial court was simply whether Pete......
  • Deadwood Lodge No. 508, Benev. and Protective Order of Elks of U.S. of America v. Albert, No. 13537
    • United States
    • Supreme Court of South Dakota
    • May 26, 1982
    ...is competent to testify as to its value. Burke v. Thomas Chevrolet, 88 S.D. 660, 227 N.W.2d 31 (1975); Geo. A. Clark & Son, Inc. v. Nold, 85 S.D. 468, 185 N.W.2d 677 (1971); Hannahs v. Noah, 83 S.D. 296, 158 N.W.2d 678...
  • Request a trial to view additional results
25 cases
  • First Nat. Bank of Biwabik Minnesota v. Bank of Lemmon, Nos. 18816
    • United States
    • Supreme Court of South Dakota
    • February 14, 1995
    ...Ayres v. Junek, 247 N.W.2d 488 (S.D.1976); Walsh v. Shoulders, 87 S.D. 270, 206 N.W.2d 60 (1973); Geo. A. Clark and Son, Inc. v. Nold, 85 S.D. 468, 185 N.W.2d 677 (1971), cert. denied, 404 U.S. 833, 92 S.Ct. 82, 30 L.Ed.2d 63 (1971); Davis v. Interstate Motor Carriers, 85 S.D. 101, 178 N.W.......
  • In re Dokken, No. 20856.
    • United States
    • Supreme Court of South Dakota
    • January 19, 2000
    ...Laboratories, Inc., 254 N.W.2d 133, 140-41 (S.D.1977); Ayres v. Junek, 247 N.W.2d 488, 490 (S.D.1976); Geo. A. Clark & Son, Inc. v. Nold, 85 S.D. 468, 185 N.W.2d 677, 680 (S.D.1971), cert. denied 404 U.S. 833, 92 S.Ct. 82, 30 L.Ed.2d 63 [¶ 56.] Since 1956, Dokken has been diagnosed with sch......
  • Peterson v. State, No. 12092
    • United States
    • Supreme Court of South Dakota
    • December 30, 1977
    ...here was in no better position to find facts from a written record of testimony than is this court on appeal. Clark & Son v. Nold et al., 85 S.D. 468, 185 N.W.2d 677 (1971), cert. denied, 404 U.S. 833, 92 S.Ct. 82, 30 L.Ed.2d 63 The legal issue before the trial court was simply whether Pete......
  • Deadwood Lodge No. 508, Benev. and Protective Order of Elks of U.S. of America v. Albert, No. 13537
    • United States
    • Supreme Court of South Dakota
    • May 26, 1982
    ...is competent to testify as to its value. Burke v. Thomas Chevrolet, 88 S.D. 660, 227 N.W.2d 31 (1975); Geo. A. Clark & Son, Inc. v. Nold, 85 S.D. 468, 185 N.W.2d 677 (1971); Hannahs v. Noah, 83 S.D. 296, 158 N.W.2d 678...
  • Request a trial to view additional results

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