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DeVenney v. Hill

Supreme Court of Alabama
918 So.2d 106 (2005)


Facts

John J. ("Jack") and Shirley Ann DeVenney (plaintiffs) sued David Eason, Mason Hill, H. Frank Thomas III, and Community Bank & Trust (defendants) over a complex transaction in which the DeVenneys sold some real property to Eason, and Eason assigned the sale contract to Hill and Thomas. The contract called for the DeVenneys to accept Eason's postdated checks for $150,000 of the $300,000 purchase price. Mrs. DeVenney commented at closing that this was essentially a loan that she expected Eason to repay when the checks became cashable 30 days later. In fact, the checks were never honored. The trial court entered summary judgment for the DeVenneys against Eason, but dismissed the DeVenney's breach-of-contract claim against Hill, Thomas, and the bank. The trial court also denied the DeVenney's assertion of an implied vendor's lien that would take precedence over the bank's mortgage lien on the property. The DeVenneys appealed to the Supreme Court of Alabama. The appellate court ruled that, as assignees of the contract, Hill and Thomas had a contractual duty, which they breached, to ensure that Eason made good on the postdated checks. The court then turned to the vendor's lien issue.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (See, J.)

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