Orange Belt Land Exchange, Inc. v. Speer

Citation100 Fla. 182,129 So. 779
PartiesORANGE BELT LAND EXCHANGE, Inc., et al. v. SPEER.
Decision Date19 July 1930
CourtUnited States State Supreme Court of Florida

Suit by S.W. Speer against the Orange Belt Land Exchange Incorporated, and others. From the decree rendered defendants other than A. S. Drawdy appeal.

Affirmed. Appeal from Circuit Court, Orange County; Frank A. Smith, judge.

COUNSEL

Gaines & Futch, of Leesburg, for appellants.

G Wayne Gray and Maguire & Voorhis, all of Orlando, for appellee.

OPINION

ELLIS J.

This is an appeal from a decree canceling a bill of sale to live stock, a Ford truck, and dairy equipment which the bill of complaint alleges was executed by S.W. Speer, the owner of the property, and delivered to Arnie S. Drawdy and Paul M Drawdy.

The bill of complaint exhibited by S.W. Speer prays for the cancellation of the bill of sale and an injunction against the defendants restraining them from asserting any right or title to the property and from molesting the complainant in his possession of the same. The defendants named in the bill are the Orange Belt Land Exchange, Inc., a corporation, A. S. Drawdy, Paul M. Drawdy, and Arnie S. Drawdy.

The bill, unnecessarily discursive, contains in minute detail the circumstances which the pleader contends constitutes the fraud from which the relief is sought. It in substance alleges that the Drawdys sought the complainant and induced him to sell his live stock, Ford truck, and dairy equipment to them in consideration of four promissory notes in the sum of $3,750 each executed by the Orange Belt Land Exchange company to be secured by its mortgage upon certain lands in Seminole county, which notes and mortgage they represented would be accepted at face value by the owner of a certain grape fruit grove which the complainant desired to purchase and for which he was willing to pay the difference between the $15,000 of notes and mortgage which represented the price of his live stock and dairy equipment and the price of the grape fruit grove. The bill charges with some emphasis that the Drawdys solicited the complainant for a trade, offering him several propositions which he refused, but finally agreed that if the Drawdys would find for him a good orange grove upon which they could trade their own mortgage that he would try and arrange a trade with them.

It was the acceptance by the Drawdys of the proposition made by the complainant out of which this suit arose and in which the alleged fraud occurred. The bill alleges that the Drawdys found an orange grove in Polk county owned by A. L. Marshall, who was willing to sell for $27,000, and who would accept a mortgage from the Drawdys on the Forrest City grove, owned by the defendants, in part payment. This was agreed to by the complainant. The bill alleges that in pursuance of that proposition the bill of sale was executed by him and the notes and mortgage from the Orange Belt Land Company were delivered to him but, the bill charges that when the parties came to a closing of the transaction Marshall refused to sell at the price agreed on, and the complainant then declared that the entire transaction was off and propositions withdrawn and demanded a return of the bill of sale to him as well as a check for $1,000, which he had given to the Drawdys, and offered to return the notes and mortgage of the Orange Belt Land Company which he held.

Then the Drawdys submitted a few days later a proposition in lieu of the one which failed. They represented that they had found a grove owned by E. C. Lewis in Lake county that he would sell for $26,000 and accept the Orange Belt mortgage and notes in part payment. The check for $1,000 given by complainant on the Marshall proposition was returned to complainant, who gave the Drawdys another check for $1,000 on the Lewis proposition, but it is alleged that the latter transaction failed through no fault of the complainant, who demanded the return of his check and bill of sale and offered to return to the Drawdys the notes any mortgage of the Orange Belt Company. It is alleged that the defendants refused to comply with the request and on August 30, 1927, caused the bill of sale to be recorded in the public records of Orange county.

The Drawdys were charged with bad faith and fraudulent purposes in all these transactions; that their representations concerning Lewis and his willingness to sell and accept the notes and mortgage of the Orange Belt company as part payment were false and known to be so by the Drawdys who had never submitted to Lewis any such proposition as they had submitted to the complainant.

We do not agree with counsel for appellants that the bill is for the removal of a cloud upon the complainant's title to the live stock, truck, and dairy equipment, but that it is a bill for the cancellation and annulment of the bill of sale on the ground of fraud.

The answer of the Drawdys and the Orange Belt Land Exchange company denies all the material allegations of the bill, denied that they solicited the complainant to make the trade, but averred that the complainant sought them, especially the Drawdy Realty Company, to find a purchaser for his live stock, truck, and dairy equipment, and requested them to find a citrus grove property for him which he could pay for in whole or in part with his property; that all of their activities were in behalf of the complainant; admit that the Marshall proposition failed of realization; but denied that the execution of the bill of sale and mortgage was in furtherance of it or as part of it. It avers that complainant sold the live stock and truck and dairy equipment to the Drawdys and received therefor in payment the mortgage and notes of the Orange Belt Land Exchange company and the same was a completed transaction. It avers also that the cattle and other property at the time of the transaction were delivered into the possession of the Drawdys and that they were in possession of the same until the property was taken out of their possession by order of the court made in this cause. All conspiracy, deception, and fraud are denied, and the answer avers that the proposed trade with Lewis failed because the complainant after accepting that proposition refused to carry it out; that the dealings with both Marshall and Lewis were carried on at complainant's request and in his behalf by the defendants through the Drawdy Realty Company in an effort to procure for the complainant an orange grove on terms agreeable to him.

The answer also avers that the complainant about the time the bill in the case was filed, October 17, 1927, sought by tricks and force to repossess himself of the live stock and other property which he had sold, transferred, and delivered to the Drawdys, and to that end hired men to forcibly take the possession of it from them, and they were not deprived of the...

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