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Sheppard Federal Credit Union v. Palmer

United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit
408 F.2d 1369 (1969)


Michael Palmer (plaintiff) signed up for a two-year tour as a registered nurse with the United States Air Force. Palmer was stationed on the base where Sheppard Federal Credit Union (Sheppard) (defendant) was located. Sheppard gave Palmer a loan to buy a car. This loan also gave Sheppard a security interest in the car. The security agreement had an acceleration clause stating that Sheppard could demand immediate repayment of the loan if Sheppard believed its security interest was insecure. Four months into his two-year Air Force tour of service, Palmer decided to resign. Palmer informed Sheppard that Palmer had resigned and was thinking of moving to Dallas to work there. Sheppard demanded that Palmer give Sheppard the car. Palmer gave Sheppard the car, but Palmer protested that he had made all his payments on time and his nursing license allowed him to work in 48 states. Palmer moved to Dallas and got a nursing job that paid more than the Air Force job had. Palmer also continued to make timely payments on his Sheppard loan even though he did not have the car anymore. Palmer sued Sheppard. After a jury trial, the jury found that Sheppard had acted maliciously and awarded Palmer actual and punitive damages. The jury instructions put the burden on Sheppard to prove that it had acted in good faith in taking Palmer’s car. Sheppard appealed.

Rule of Law


Holding and Reasoning (Gewin, J.)

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