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Alban Tractor Co. v. Harrison

Decided: May 18, 1962.

ALBAN TRACTOR COMPANY, INC.
v.
HARRISON



Appeal from the Circuit Court for Baltimore County; Turnbull, J.

Brune, C. J., and Henderson, Hammond, Horney and Marbury, JJ. Marbury, J., delivered the opinion of the Court.

Marbury

The appeal here is from a judgment of the Circuit Court for Baltimore County, entered upon a verdict in favor of the defendant, Goldie M. Bull Harrison, appellee here, against the Alban Tractor Company, Inc., appellant. It had sued the appellee on the endorsement of a note made by her son, Paul A. Bull, given to the appellant as further security for payment of a balance of $4541.00 then due by the son to the appellant for the purchase of a used Caterpillar tractor and bulldozer.

During October 1958 Paul A. Bull applied to the office of the appellant, and made a contract to trade in a used Caterpillar tractor on account of the purchase of another used Caterpillar and bulldozer, for a total cash price of $5355.00. Because of previous experience with Paul A. Bull, the original order was immediately conditioned by a notation made by the credit manager, "must have endorsement of mother, Goldie M. Bull"

(later Mrs. Harrison, the appellee). As a result of this direction Charles C. Rutledge, a salesman for the appellant, went first to the home of Paul A. Bull, then drove Paul over to the home of the appellee, where the following took place, according to the testimony of Rutledge:

"Q. What took place when she signed it? A. Slightly prior to the time Mrs. Bull signed this, she was hesitant, did not want to become involved in the contract, and I assured Mrs. Bull at that time that the only time she would become involved in this transaction would be unless her son, Paul, defaulted in his payments and at that time the tractor would be taken back, if he defaulted in the payments.

Q. What would her responsibility be? A. None, other than if he defaulted. She assured us we would get the merchandise in return.

Q. Tell the Court whether or not there was any discussion from you to Mrs. Bull with regard to her liability for money. A. As I remember there was no talk of that whatsoever, about the money."

The testimony of the appellee conforms to the testimony of the appellant's salesman with respect to her agreement of limited liability. On direct examination, with reference to her conversation with Mr. Rutledge, she testified:

"Q. Would you tell his Honor, in your own words, what he said to you and what you said to him. A. He came to me with this paper, and he asked me, said, 'Your son wants to buy a tractor. We would like to have your signature on this paper to see that if he doesn't pay for it that it will be returned.' That I would be implicated in no money whatsoever. I said, 'Are you sure?' He said 'Yes, that's all I want.' He didn't show me anything to this at all; one part of it was blank. Nothing on it when I signed it.

Q. Mr. Rutledge indicated you were hesitant to -- A. Yes, I was, because I said, 'If there's money involved I can't help you out.' He said, 'No, there's no money involved. This is just to see that this ...


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