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Putnam v. Shoaf

Court of Appeals of Tennessee
620 S.W.2d 510 (1981)


Facts

Carolyn Putnam owned a one-half partnership interest in the Frog Jump Gin Company (Frog Jump). The other one-half interest in Frog Jump was owned by E.C. and Louise Charlton. All of Frog Jump's assets were held in the name of the partnership. As Frog Jump’s debts increased over time, Putnam decided to sell her partnership interest and get out of the business. John and Maurine Shoaf (defendants) agreed to purchase Putnam’s partnership interest, thereby assuming all her personal liability and partnership debts, if Putnam and the Charltons each paid $21,000 into the partnership account. Putnam and the Charltons paid the money, and the Shoafs assumed Putnam's interest. Putnam conveyed her partnership interest to the Shoafs by a quitclaim deed, including Putnam’s interest in the personal and real property associated with Frog Jump. After the Shoafs acquired Putnam’s interest in Frog Jump, it was discovered that a former bookkeeper had been embezzling from Frog Jump. Frog Jump sued the bookkeeper and banks that had honored the bookkeeper's forged checks. Putnam intervened in the lawsuit, claiming she was entitled to half of any amount recovered by Frog Jump. Putnam died during the litigation. The trial court awarded $68,000 to Frog Jump. The Charltons received one-half of the $68,000 judgment. Putnam's estate (plaintiff) and the Shoafs disputed who was entitled to the other half of the $68,000. The trial court found that Putnam had no interest in the judgment and dismissed the estate's claim. The estate appealed.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Nearn, J.)

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