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Lewistown Propane Co. v. Ford
Montana Supreme Court
42 P.3d 229 (2002)
Lewistown Propane Company (plaintiff) obtained a judgment against Tom Ford (defendant) for a debt of approximately $28,000 plus interest. The records at both the Montana Department of Transportation and the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) listed Ford as the owner of a Piper Cub aircraft. Lewistown Propane seized the airplane and filed a notice of execution levy against Ford, notifying him that Lewistown Propane intended to sell the airplane to pay off the judgment. Ford had recently sold the airplane to Raymond Becky (defendant), but the transfer had not been recorded with either the FAA or the State of Montana. Becky intervened in the action, seeking to stop the sale and to get the airplane back. The district court ordered Lewistown Propane to return the airplane to Becky, and Lewistown Propane appealed to the Montana Supreme Court. Becky eventually recorded the airplane sale with the FAA, but Lewistown Propane never recorded its lien on the airplane. Becky argued that even if Lewistown Propane had a right to seize the airplane before the sale had been recorded, Becky’s currently recorded ownership took priority over Lewistown Propane’s unrecorded lien, giving him a right to get the airplane back.
Rule of Law
Holding and Reasoning (Regnier, J.)
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