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Gibraltar Financial Corp. v. Prestige Equipment Corp.

Supreme Court of Indiana
949 N.E.2d 314 (2011)


Vitco Industries, Inc. (Vitco) bought a punch press for $243,000. Key Equipment Finance, Inc. (Key) then entered into a lease agreement with Vitco, under which Key paid Vitco $243,000 and Vitco was entitled to continue using the press in exchange for monthly payments for six years. Under the agreement’s early-buyout option (EBO), Vitco could buy the press after five years for $78,464.70. If Vitco did not exercise the EBO by the end of the six-year term, Vitco could buy the press for fair market value, renew the lease, or return the press to Key. Vitco entered into several loan agreements with Gibraltar Financial Corporation (Gibraltar) (plaintiff). Vitco granted a security interest in its property to Gibraltar. When Vitco defaulted under the loan agreements, Key repossessed and sold the press to Prestige Equipment Corporation (Prestige) (defendant). Gibraltar sued Prestige to recover the value of the press, arguing that Prestige had acquired the press subject to Gibraltar’s security interest. The trial court granted summary judgment in favor of Prestige, finding that the agreement between Key and Vitco was a lease and that Gibraltar therefore did not have had a security interest in the press. The court of appeals affirmed. Gibraltar appealed, arguing that the agreement represented a sale subject to Gibraltar’s security interests.

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