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Torts — Conversion — Action against motor vehicle dealer by assignee of retail installment agreements

May 29th, 2021 in News by admin

Torts — Conversion — Action against motor vehicle dealer by assignee of retail installment agreements which, pursuant to agreement with borrower/purchaser, were cross-collateralized by liens on two motor vehicles, alleging dealer submitted to the Department of Motor Vehicles a satisfaction of lien on which it had forged the signature of plaintiff’s authorized representative and converted one of the two vehicles to its own use and ownership without satisfying borrower’s outstanding debt — Trial court erred by failing to consider plaintiff’s reply to dealer’s amended affirmative defense in which plaintiff not only denied dealer’s affirmative defense, but also asserted its possessory interest in vehicle based on borrower’s default on payments due under retail installment contract — Issue of plaintiff’s possessory interest was tried by consent where defendant did not raise objection to introduction of testimony or evidence of borrower’s default as basis of plaintiff’s possessory right in vehicle until plaintiff moved to amend pleadings to conform to the evidence, although both parties presented arguments surrounding borrower’s default throughout trial — County court abused its discretion when it denied plaintiff’s ore tenus motion to conform pleadings to the evidence where, although defendant objected to motion, there was no prejudice to defendant under circumstances — Final judgments in favor of dealer and in favor of borrower on dealer’s third-party complaint for indemnification is reversed — Because dealer’s claim against borrower for indemnification rests on the resolution of the main claim between plaintiff and dealer, dealer is entitled to maintain its third-party complaint against borrower — Remand for further proceedings — Attorney’s fees awarded, contingent upon appellant prevailing under section 768.79