Moss v. Hipp

Decision Date17 February 1965
Docket NumberNo. A-10312,A-10312
PartiesJames W. MOSS, Petitioner, v. George D. HIPP, Respondent.
CourtTexas Supreme Court

Neal, Hazlewood & Wolfram, Amarillo, for petitioner.

Clayton, Kolander, Moser & Templeton, Amarillo, for respondent.

WALKER, Justice.

The rights of the parties to this appeal turn upon the existence and relative priority of the liens they assert against a 1957 Mack truck tractor owned by one A. D. Falls. Their claims, which fall into three categories, arose in the following manner:

(1) In July and October, 1960, Falls borrowed a total of $3,500.00 from or through George D. Hipp, respondent, and used the same for a down payment on the tractor and a trailer. Respondent was president of Star Grain Company, Inc., and the advances were made with checks drawn by him on the company's bank account. No note, chattel mortgage or other lien instrument was executed by Falls at the time to evidence or secure this indebtedness, hereinafter referred to as the original loan, but respondent contends that it later became secured by the chattel mortgage mentioned below.

(2) Falls borrowed the remainder of the purchase price of the tractor from the American National Bank, and on August 22, 1961, executed to the bank his note for $5,471.28 secured by a chattel mortgage on the tractor. The chattel mortgage contained a so-called dragnet clause providing, in effect, that it would also secure any other indebtedness then or thereafter owing to the holder of the note. A certificate of title was duly issued on the tractor showing as liens the note for $5,471.28 to the bank 'and all future advances.' Payment of the note was guaranteed by respondent in writing. Falls was unable to meet certain monthly installments on the note, and the same were paid by respondent. Finally on December 9, 1962, respondent paid the entire balance of the note to the bank and took an assignment of the note and chattel mortgage. The amount owing by Falls to respondent on the note, including principal, interest and attorneys fees, is referred to herein as the note balance.

(3) James W. Moss, petitioner, who is engaged in the garage business, repaired the tractor on several occasions during the period from October 10, 1961, to August 22, 1962. He was not paid for these services, and the balance unpaid on his claim for parts furnished and labor done, hereinafter referred to as the repair bill, is $1,799.37.

Petitioner instituted suit against Falls to recover the repair bill and for foreclosure of his constitutional repairman's lien on the tractor. See Texas Constitution, Article XVI, Section 37. Respondent intervened and alleged that the original loan and the note balance are secured by the chattel mortgage, and that the lien thereof is prior and superior to petitioner's claim. He prayed for a recovery against Falls on both debts, for foreclosure of the chattel mortgage lien, and for judgment declaring that any right or interest owned by petitioner in the vehicle is subordinate and inferior to such lien.

Petitioner sought and was granted an interlocutory default judgment against Falls, who failed to answer although he did testify as a witness at the trial. The controversy between petitioner and respondent was then tried before the court, and final judgment was entered decreeing: (1) that petitioner and respondent recover the amounts of their respective claims from Falls; (2) that the note balance owing to to respondent is secured by the chattel mortgage; (3) that the original loan owing to respondent is unsecured; (4) that the repair bill owing to petitioner is secured by a constitutional repairman's lien; (5) that the chattel mortgage lien securing the note balance is superior to petitioner's constitutional lien; and (6) that the liens be foreclosed and the proceeds of the foreclosure sale distributed as set out in the judgment. The Court of Civil Appeals concluded that both the original loan and the note balance are secured by the chattel mortgage, and that petitioner's lien is subordinate thereto. It modified the judgment of the trial court to provide that respondent's entire claim is secured by a first and superior lien on the tractor. Tex.Civ.App., 380 S.W.2d 168.

There is a practice question which should be considered at the outset. Petitioner did not file an answer to respondent's plea in intervention, and respondent contends that there are no pleadings to support the trial court's judgment decreeing that the repairman's lien claimed by petitioner is superior to the lien asserted by respondent. He relies on Shield Co. v. Cartwright, 142 Tex. 324, 177 S.W.2d 954, where the plaintiff was denied an offset against the judgment awarded an intervening trustee in bankruptcy because the issue was not raised by the pleadings or tried by consent. The present record discloses a somewhat different situation. Petitioner has asserted no cause of action against respondent personally, and does not rely upon any affirmative defense to the latter's claim against the tractor. It is clear, moreover, that the parties knew, or were charged with knowledge, that the priority of their respective claims was in issue. The interlocutory default judgment against Falls expressly stated that the relative rights and priorities of petitioner and respondent would be determined by a subsequent and final judgment. In these circumstances petitioner's failure to answer the plea in intervention is not fatal to the trial court's judgment.

Turning now to the merits of the case, petitioner recognizes that the lien of the note balance is superior to his constitutional lien. The only dispute here is with reference to the original loan. Respondent contends that the original loan became secured by the chattel mortgage when he acquired the note described therein, and in support of this contention he relies on: (1) the dragnet clause of the chattel mortgage, and (2) an oral agreement which he alleged was made with Falls at the time the balance of the note was paid to the bank. He says that since he became the owner of the note secured by the chattel mortgage, the trial court erred in failing to give effect to the stipulation in the mortgage that it would also secure any other indebtedness then or thereafter owing to the holder of such note. We do not agree. Provisions of this type apply only to indebtedness which was reasonably within the contemplation of the parties to the mortgage at the time it was made. See National Finance Co. v. Fregia, Tex.Civ.App., 78 S.W.2d 1081 (writ dis.); Republic Nat. Bank of Dallas v. Zesmer, Tex.Civ.App., 187 S.W.2d 227 (no writ); 15 Am.Jur.2d ...

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    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (5th Circuit)
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    ...parties to the mortgage at the time it was made." Wood v. Parker Square State Bank, 400 S.W.2d 898, 901 (Tex.1966). See also Moss v. Hipp, 387 S.W.2d 656 (Tex.1965); Wallenstein & St. Claire, Annual Survey of Texas Law Property, 30 Southwestern L.J. 28, 53 n. 214 (1976). 6 Consistent with t......
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    ...to be secured was reasonably within the contemplation of the parties to the deed of trust at the time it was executed. Moss v. Hipp, 387 S.W.2d 656, 658-60 (Tex.1965); Wagner v. Compass Bank, 170 S.W.3d 220, 224 (Tex.App.-Dallas 2005, no pet.); see also In re Conte, 206 F.3d 536, 538 (5th C......
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    ...contradiction, inaccuracies, and circumstances tending to cast suspicion on it. Ex Parte Rohleder, Tex.1967, 424 S.W.2d 891; Moss v. Hipp, Tex.1965, 387 S.W.2d 656; Cochran v. Wool Growers Central Storage Co., 1942, 140 Tex. 184, 166 S.W.2d In the case before us Mrs. Bair's statements are n......
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    • United States
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    • September 5, 1975
    ...nature as that previously described in the instrument. See Wood v. Parker Square State Bank, 400 S.W. 2d 898 (Tex.1966); Moss v. Hipp, 387 S.W.2d 656 (Tex.1965); Finger Furniture Company v. Chase Manhattan Bank, 413 S.W.2d 131 (Tex.Civ.App. — San Antonio, 1967, writ ref'd Section 9-204(e) o......
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