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HEGMANN v. MITCHELL. (07/21/55)

July 21, 1955

HEGMANN, APPELLANT,
v.
MITCHELL.



Appeal, No. 29, April T., 1955, from judgment of Court of Common Pleas of Washington County, Feb. T., 1954, No. 97, in case of Robert J. Hegmann v. Baird Mitchell, trading as Mitchell & Craft. Judgment reversed.

COUNSEL

Samuel L. Rodgers, with him Ceisler & Rodgers, for appellant.

Alexander W. Acheson, with him William C. Porter, for appellee.

Before Rhodes, P.j., Hirt, Ross, Gunther, Wright, Woodside, and Ervin, JJ.

Author: Ervin

[ 179 Pa. Super. Page 124]

OPINION BY ERVIN, J.

This is an appeal from the decree of the lower court granting defendant's motion for judgment n.o.v. in a suit in trespass against the defendant for tortious conversion of a stock certificate owned by plaintiff and his wife as tenants by the entireties. Plaintiff having won the verdict, we must consider the facts and inferences most strongly in his favor. Matrimonial difficulties had occurred between the plaintiff and his wife and divorce proceedings were about to be instituted by the wife. Plaintiff endorsed in blank the certificate in question, being No. S41998 for 390 shares of National Securities Series, and gave it to his wife for the purpose of selling it and dividing the proceeds equally between them. The wife took the certificate to the defendant, a stockbroker, and told him to have it reissued to herself and her daughter by a former marriage, Betty Winslow, and endorsed the certificate in defendant's presence. She took the certificate to a bank

[ 179 Pa. Super. Page 125]

    and had the signatures guaranteed and then returned it to the defendant. The defendant then filled in the names of the wife and her daughter as assignees over the endorsements of the plaintiff and wife. Plaintiff, having learned of the intention to have the stock transferred to his wife and her daughter, informed the defendant that he never intended to transfer it to his wife and stepdaughter. Plaintiff wrote the transfer agent, notifying it that he had revoked his endorsement of the certificate. Thereafter the marital situation of plaintiff and his wife improved and they agreed that the stock certificate should be reissued in their original ownership. The wife thereafter told defendant to reissue the stock to the wife and her husband. The defendant requested plaintiff to lift his revocation with the transfer agent, which plaintiff did. Thereafter defendant, upon instructions from the wife, forwarded the certificate to the transfer agent with instructions to reissue the certificate to the wife and her daughter, which was done. The wife and her daughter still hold the new certificate for the stock. Thereafter plaintiff and his wife entered into a family settlement for their joint properties, enumerating the joint properties still held in both names but not including the certificate which was now held in the names of the wife and her daughter.*fn1

[ 179 Pa. Super. Page 126]

Prior to 1951 the law in Pennsylvania was that the release of one of two joint tortfeasors released the other. Thompson v. Fox, 326 Pa. 209, 212, 213, 192 A.

[ 179 Pa. Super. Page 127107]

; Union of Russian Societies v. Koss, 348 Pa. 574, 577, 578, 36 A.2d 433; Koller v. Pa. R.R. Co., 351 Pa. 60, 65, 40 A.2d 89; Girard Tr. Corn Bk. v. Reliable Motors, 176 ...


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