Plaintiff, Dr. Ramson K. Vidrine, commenced this suit seeking contribution allegedly owed to him by defendants, Sylvan and Jennie Carmouche, resulting from plaintiff's payment of a promissory (hand) note executed by him and defendant Sylvan Carmouche. Additionally, Doctor Vidrine seeks recognition of a collateral mortgage given by the parties herein securing a collateral mortgage note executed by Doctor Vidrine and Sylvan Carmouche and pledged to secure the aforesaid promissory note. From a judgment of the district court casting defendants in judgment in solido for contribution
This action arises from an apartment building venture between Doctor Vidrine and Sylvan Carmouche. Each was the owner of an undivided one-half interest of the venture's assets and they shared the liabilities and losses by the same ratio. To secure financing of the aforesaid project, Doctor
The parties contemplated repaying the note from the rental income derived from the apartment building, however, the venture became unsuccessful and after failing to make the necessary payments thereon, the hand note was referred by Union Bank to its attorney for collection. Formal demand was made upon Doctor Vidrine for payment of the entire outstanding amount. In an effort to avoid the impending lawsuit Doctor Vidrine contacted his local bank, Evangeline Bank and Trust Company of Ville Platte, and made arrangements with them to purchase the note. On January 15, 1981, a representative of Evangeline Bank went to the Union Bank and purchased the hand note from Union Bank and received a written assignment of the note and accessory collateral mortgage. Thereafter plaintiff secured funds from the Evangeline Bank and used those secured funds to pay Evangeline both his portion of the hand note and that of Sylvan Carmouche, whereupon Evangeline transferred possession of the hand note and collateral mortgage note to plaintiff. This action followed.
On appeal defendants contend that the trial court erred in:
(1) overruling defendants' peremptory exception of no right of action;
(2) rendering judgment against Jennie Carmouche inasmuch as she was not a party to either the promissory note or collateral mortgage note sued upon herein;
(3) refusing to allow defendants to file an amended answer and reconventional demand; and
(4) failing to grant defendants judgment on the pleadings.
Conversely, plaintiff contends that the district court erred in:
(1) failing to recognize that the pledge of the collateral mortgage note and the accompanying collateral mortgage secured the indebtedness of Sylvan Carmouche and that Doctor Vidrine was vested with the same rights arising from the pledged security as his transferor, Evangeline Bank, upon payment of the note it secured; and
(2) allowing defendants to set off $2,000.00 allegedly paid by them on the sued upon note.
Defendants contend on appeal that the trial court erred in failing to sustain their exception of no right of action. Their claim stems from their allegations that there was no formal assignment from the Evangeline Bank to Doctor Vidrine.
Under the commercial laws of La. R.S. 10:3-101 et seq., the holder of an instrument payable to his order may transfer it for value without endorsing the instrument (see La.R.S. 10:3-201 cited below). N.E. England Associates, Inc. v. Davis, 333 So.2d 696 (La.App. 4th Cir.1976). However, if the face of the instrument indicates title is in any person other than the possessor, the burden is upon the possessor to prove his ownership. He must prove a valid transfer or lose his right to sue on the instrument. Richmond v. Bode, 216 So.2d 348 (La.App. 4th Cir.1968); N.E. England, supra.
A review of the record convinces us that there was a valid transfer. At trial testimony was solicited from the vice-president and loan officer of Evangeline Bank, Jimmy Vidrine. Mr. Vidrine testified that subsequent to being assigned the hand note from Union Bank, Evangeline Bank sold the note to Doctor Vidrine for the total amount owing thereon. The payment of the indebtedness and the surrender of the instrument to plaintiff constitutes a valid
Finding a valid transfer, plaintiff avers that the trial court erred in failing to recognize the collateral mortgage securing the debt. We agree.
La.R.S. 10:3-603 establishes one's right arising out of payment or satisfaction of an instrument. It reads in pertinent part as follows:
In conjunction therewith, La.R.S. 10:3-201 recognizes that the transferee has the same rights as his transferor. It states in part:
By payment of the note Doctor Vidrine was discharged to the extent of his payment, and upon surrender of the instrument to him, he acquired the rights of a transferee and was entitled to proceed against defendant Sylvan Carmouche for that amount paid on said defendant's behalf. Evangeline Bank, plaintiff's transferor, as assignee of the promissory note from Union Bank, received the hand note secured by the collateral mortgage note and accompanying collateral mortgage. By transferring the note to plaintiff, Evangeline Bank's rights to rely on the given security vests with plaintiff to the extent that defendant Sylvan Carmouche remained liable on the note to plaintiff as aforementioned. Therefore, we find that the trial court erred in failing to recognize plaintiff's right to the security of the collateral mortgage.
Since defendant Jennie Carmouche neither signed the hand note or the collateral mortgage note she cannot be held solidarily liable with her husband thereon. However, as previously discussed, plaintiff is entitled to recognition of the mortgage given to secure the collateral mortgage note which was subsequently pledged to secure the hand note. Accordingly, we reverse that portion of the judgment below which casts Jennie Carmouche in judgment.
Defendants next contend that the trial court erred in refusing to allow them to file a reconventional demand and/or amended answer.
Under La.C.C.P. Article 1033
Likewise, under La.C.C.P. Article 1151
Notwithstanding the fact that the trial judge refused to let defendants amend their answer to plead an affirmative defense, the trial judge did allow defendants to introduce evidence, over plaintiff's objection, relative to payments made on the note by them. Furthermore, defendants were allowed a set off for one-half of the amount previously paid by them. Plaintiff avers that in so doing the trial judge erred. We disagree.
La.C.C.P. Article 1154 provides:
It is well settled that the trial judge has great discretion in deciding whether or not to allow evidence objected to on the grounds that it is not within issues raised by the pleadings. Mouledous v. Poirier, 221 So.2d 291 (La.App. 4th Cir.1969); Brooks v. Fondren, 199 So.2d 588 (La.App. 3rd Cir. 1967); Wallace v. Hanover Insurance Company of New York, 164 So.2d 111 (La.App. 1st Cir.1964), writ refused, 246 La. 598, 165 So.2d 486 (1964).
Inasmuch as the evidence introduced reflects payments on the note by Sylvan Carmouche,
Lastly, defendants contend that the trial court erred in refusing to grant them judgment on the pleadings. Our perusal of the pleadings in a view most favorable to plaintiff convinces us that the trial court did not abuse its discretion in rejecting defendants' request.
For the above and foregoing reasons the judgment of the district court is reversed in part, affirmed in part, and recast as follows:
It is hereby Ordered, Adjudged, and Decreed that there be judgment herein in favor of plaintiff, Ramson K. Vidrine, and against defendant, Sylvan Carmouche, in the full sum of Seventeen Thousand, Three Hundred and Twenty-one and 68/100 ($17,321.68) Dollars, together with legal interest thereon from date of judicial demand until paid.
It is further Ordered, Adjudged, and Decreed that there be judgment herein in favor of plaintiff, Ramson K. Vidrine, and against the defendants, Sylvan Carmouche and Jennie Carmouche, recognizing plaintiff's lien in the amount of the judgment granted him herein, under that certain collateral mortgage from Ramson K. Vidrine, Sylvan Carmouche, and Jennie Carmouche to the Union Bank dated September 22, 1976, and recorded on that same date, bearing entry number 279844 in Mortgage Book 310 of the records of Avoyelles Parish against the following described property situated in the Parish of Avoyelles, State of Louisiana, to-wit:
All costs at trial are assessed against defendant, Sylvan Carmouche. Costs on appeal are assessed one-half (½) against plaintiff and one-half (½) against defendant, Sylvan Carmouche.
REVERSED IN PART, AFFIRMED IN PART, AND RENDERED.
ON APPLICATIONS FOR REHEARING
In the judgment rendered by us herein, plaintiff, Ramson K. Vidrine, was awarded the sum of $17,321.68 against the defendant, Sylvan Carmouche. In the judgment we inadvertently granted the plaintiff legal interest on that amount from date of judicial demand until paid. Plaintiff's rights to interest and attorney fees are established under the collateral mortgage referred to in
In all other respects the judgment rendered is to remain unchanged, and both applications for rehearings are hereby denied.