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Lawskills.com Georgia Caselaw
WYATT v. SINGLEY.
38656.
Trover for automobile. Fulton Civil Court. Before Judge Parker.
FELTON, Chief Judge.
The plaintiff brought his action in trover in the Civil Court of Fulton County against the defendant to recover a 1957 M.G. automobile. The facts adduced at the trial, without the intervention of a jury, were as follows: The plaintiff advertised the automobile for sale and in answer to the advertisement one J. C. Hilley representing himself to be Parker Brown negotiated with the plaintiff for the purchase of the car; Hilley claimed to represent two automobile dealers, one of which he alleged was interested in purchasing the car; Hilley informed the plaintiff that he would buy the car if it passed garage inspection; Hilley then proceeded to take the car with the plaintiff's permission, leaving a draft, which, according to agreement, the plaintiff could present the next day if the car was in acceptable condition; the plaintiff refused to give a bill of sale until the transaction was completed; Hilley sought to sell the automobile the following day to the defendant who, at that time, called the plaintiff's residence to investigate title and was told by the plaintiff's wife that the automobile had been sold; believing that Hilley had title, the defendant purchased the automobile; the plaintiff discovered when he called the bank upon which the draft was drawn that it had been drawn on a nonexistent account. On discovery of the fraud perpetrated by Hilley, the plaintiff located the automobile and brought this action in trover to recover it. The court entered judgment in favor of the plaintiff for the property, and the defendant filed his motion for a new trial on the general grounds. Thereupon the court overruled the motion for a new trial and it is to this ruling that the defendant excepts.
"There being no market overt in Georgia, hut the doctrine of caveat emptor being of force, a purchaser of personal property from one who is not the true owner acquires no title against the true owner by reason of the bona fides of his purchase, when he purchases from one who is an utter stranger to the title and who can convey no title, except where there may be some statute otherwise, or where the true owner, upon some principle of estoppel, would be prevented from asserting his title." Singer Sewing Machine Co. v. Wardlaw, 29 Ga. App. 626 (1) (116 S. E. 207); Guthrie v. Hendley, 56 Gag App. 438 (193 S. E. 80). It cannot be said that the plaintiff was estopped simply because he voluntarily delivered possession of the automobile to one making fraudulent representation for the purpose of gaining possession of property. "Mere negligence of an owner in putting personal property in the possession of another so that he is given the opportunity to dispose of it is not sufficient to estop the owner." Padgett v. Collins, 89 Ga. App. 769, 779 (81 S. E. 2d 309) and cit. "While possession of personal property is presumptive evidence of ownership, the presumption is not conclusive, and any person dealing with the possessor as the owner will not obtain title to the property as against the true owner, unless the latter has done something to mislead or deceive such purchaser." Arnold v. Conner, 100 Ga. App. 503 (2) (111 S. E. 2d 638) and cit. Under the facts of the case it does not appear that the plaintiff's wife was acting as agent for her husband or that she had any authority to represent him in any way with reference to the car.
In accordance with the foregoing principles of law, the court did not err in overruling the defendant's motion for a new trial.
Judgment affirmed. Nichols and Bell, JJ., concur.
Sheats, Parker & Webb, Paul Webb, Jr., contra.
R. E. Llorens, for plaintiff in error.
DECIDED FEBRUARY 21, 1961.
Friday May 22 23:52 EDT


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