Babcock v. Tam

156 F.2d 116 (1946)

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Babcock v. Tam

United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit
156 F.2d 116 (1946)

Facts

Edwin and Nita Tam (defendants) were married and residents of Arizona. Edwin owned separate property in Casa Grande and Yuma. In the summer of 1938, Edwin drove from his home in Arizona to California to follow up on a lead that there might be individuals in Los Angeles who were interested in purchasing his Casa Grande property. Edwin first stopped in San Diego, where Nita was recovering from an illness. A few days later, Edwin proceeded to Los Angeles but was unable to contact the potential buyers. Edwin next drove to the home of Belle Sparks in Huntington Park to gather information that might help him in the sale of his property. Sparks confirmed that Edwin visited her to talk about selling his Casa Grande property; Sparks had recently sold a property through an agent, and Edwin wished to know the details of Sparks’s experience. Another witness attested to Edwin’s excitement in going to California to find buyers for his Casa Grande property. After Edwin’s visit, Sparks wanted to go to Venice, California, and Edwin agreed to drive her there along a coastal route. Prior to reaching Venice, Edwin became involved in an automobile collision with Alice Babcock (plaintiff) in which Babcock was injured. In 1939, Babcock obtained a personal-injury judgment against Edwin (the California judgment). In 1942, Babcock obtained an Arizona judgment against Edwin on the California judgment, which Babcock sought to execute in Arizona. At some point, Ewin transferred his Yuma property to himself and Nita, as community property. Thereafter, Babcock sued the Tams to obtain a determination as to the character of the judgments she had obtained—community or separate—and Babcock’s ability to levy the Yuma property to satisfy her judgments. The court concluded that both judgments were Edwin’s separate liabilities, that Edwin had validly transferred his Yuma property to the community, and that the community property was not subject to levy. Babcock appealed.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Stephens, J.)

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