Willis A. MacDonald, Butler, and Dan T. R. Dickson, Pittsburgh, for appellant.
Shumaker & Kiester, A. R. Cingolani, Lee C. McCandless, and John C. Dillon, Jr., of Butler, for appellees.
Before Rhodes, P. J., and Hirt, Reno, Dithrich, Ross and Arnold, JJ.
[ 167 Pa. Super. Page 160]
The problem confronting the Court in this replevin action concerns the rights of two innocent parties. Rice Street Motors, now for the use of the Commercial Credit Company, appellant, at St. Paul, Minnesota, on April 11, 1946, sold a 1940 Plymouth coupe under a conditional sales agreement to LeRoy A. Smith, alias Roy Smith, and then assigned the contract to the appellant. Smith applied for and was issued a registration card from the State of Minnesota for the year ending December 31, 1946. On the registration card was printed ' This is also Minnesota title.' (Italics supplied.) The sales agreement,
[ 167 Pa. Super. Page 161]
provided, inter alia, '2. Title to the Car * * * shall not pass by delivery to the Buyer but shall remain vested in and be the property of the Seller or Assigns until the purchase price has been fully paid.' The agreement further provided that the buyer was not to remove the automobile from the State of Minnesota.
Notwithstanding his agreement and without the knowledge and consent of appellant, Smith on July 8, 1946, brought the car to Butler, Pennsylvania, and sold it to Peter Betres, trading and doing business as Betres Service Sales, one of the intervening defendants. Betres, who was an innocent purchaser for value, without notice of the conditional sales contract, obtained a Pennsylvania certificate of title for the car and then leased the same by bailment lease to Dwight W. Emrick. The lease was financed through the General Credit Company of Butler, the other intervening defendant. The car subsequently was replevied by appellant from Emrick, the defendant in possession.
The trial of the issue resulted in a directed verdict in favor of Emrick, and from the refusal of its motions for judgment non obstante veredicto and a new trial the Commercial Credit Company has brought this appeal.
Section 203 of The Vehicle Code of Pennsylvania of May 1, 1929, P.L. 905, as last amended by the Act of May 18, 1949, P.L. 1412, § 3, 75 P.S. § 33 (Pkt. Part), provides, in part, as follows:
'(a) A certificate of title shall contain * * * a statement of any liens or encumbrances [upon the motor vehicle] * * *
'(b) Where there are no liens or encumbrances * * *, the certificate of title shall be delivered to the owner, but otherwise it shall be delivered to the person holding the first lien or encumbrance upon said motor vehicle * * *, and shall be retained by such ...