Clow v. Woods
Pennsylvania Supreme Court
5 Serg. & Rawle 275, 9 Am. Dec. 346 (1819)
In September 1815, Pittsburgh tanner John Hancock borrowed money from James Clow and James Sharp (plaintiffs). Hancock executed a chattel mortgage to Clow and Sharp covering the bark and tools in Hancock’s tanyard, as well as Hancock’s unfinished skins and leather that were undergoing the tanning process. The mortgaged property was not described in detail in the mortgage. Hancock did not deliver the property with the mortgage; rather, the property remained in Hancock’s possession so that he could finish the tanning process on the raw materials. The mortgage was not recorded. Two months after the mortgage was executed, Hancock and his business partner, George Poe, dissolved their partnership and submitted to arbitration for an adjustment of their accounts. The arbitrators found for Poe, and judgment was entered in Poe’s favor for over $2,250. The court issued a writ of execution (i.e., a fieri facias) that allowed for the seizure and sale of Hancock’s property to satisfy the judgment to Poe. When county sheriff William Woods (defendant) attempted to obtain the property from Hancock pursuant to the writ, Woods learned that the property had been mortgaged. Poe had no notice of the mortgage prior to that time. Woods seized the mortgaged property and sold the property for an amount that exceeded the amount of the mortgage. Clow and Sharp requested payment of the proceeds to satisfy the mortgage, but Woods refused and instead paid the sale proceeds to Poe. Clow and Sharp brought an action against Woods in a county court of common pleas. The court entered judgment in Woods’s favor, and Clow and Sharp appealed.
Rule of Law
Holding and Reasoning (Gibson, J.)
Concurrence (Duncan, J.)
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