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(1 19 Cal. 647)
A mortgagee who subsequently took a trust CRISJAN et al. v. LANTERMAN et al.
deed on the same property from a grantee of (L. A. 1,635.)
the mortgagor, securing the same and a further (Supreme Court of California. Aug. 30, 1906.)
indebtedness, and sold the property thereunder
free of incombrance, releasing the inortgage, and 1. MORTGAGES-REVEDIES OF MORTGAGEE realizing a sum sufficient to pay the mortgage EFFECT OF RELEASE OF MORTGAGE.
Ciebt but a part of which was applied to the A mortgagee who releases the mortgage to other indebtedness, is estopped as against the a grantee of the mortgagor, without the lat purchaser from asserting the invalidity of the ter's consent, cannot hold such mortgagor per release, and, having no right to enforce the sonally liable for the debt.
mortgage cannot make it the basis of an action [Ed. Note.-For cases in point, see vol. 35, against the mortgagor to recover a deficiency Cent. Dig. Vortgages, . § 701.]
jurigment. 2. SAME-MERGER OF SECURITIES-INTENTION Department 1. Appeal from Superior Or L'ARTIES.
Court, Los Angeles County; Curtis D. WilWlicther a mortgage is merged and extinguished by the subsequent execution of a deed | bur, Judge. of trust on the property to the mortgager secur Action liy Albert J. Crisman and Dwight N. ing the same with other in lebtedness depends Lowell, executors, against J. L. Lanterman, on the intention of the parties.
executor, and others. Judgment for defend[Ed. Yote.-For cases in point, see vol. 33, Cent. Diy. Mortgages, $ 897.]
ants, and plaintiffs appeal. Affirmed. 3. Save.
Frank G. Finlayson, for appellants. M. Igrantee of mortgaged property exer'uted W. (onkling and Chas. T. Howland, for rea derd of trust thereon to the mortgi ger, to spondents. secure the mortgage deht and other unsecurest indebtedness, which recited that it was given "for the purpose of further securing any of SLUSS, J. On June 19, 1893, Ammoretta sail promissory notes which may now be se J. Linterman made her promissory note for cured by any mortgage,” and provided that in case a sale thereunder should not realize suili
$5,000, payable to Frederick S. Crisman or (ient to pay the entire inciebtedness the creditors
order. on or before 10 years after date. should retain, hare, and possess the same rem With the note, and as security for it, she edies to enforce the payment of said promis
delivered to Crisman à mortgage of the south sory notes or any of them which they would have or possess if this deed of trust liad not been
80 acres of lot 9 of the Rancho La Canala, executed." The mortgagor whose note was se in Los Angeles County, and certain shares of (ured by the mortgage consented to the giving stock in a water company. The property of sa il deed. IIeld, that the mortgage was not
mortgagel stood of record in the name of Ilerged in such trust deed, and that the right of the mortgagor to have the proceeds of the
Ammoretti J. Lanterman, but, in fact, it beproperty applied to the payment of her note longed to Roy S. Lanterman, her son, and was not affected therebr.
the note and mortgage were given in con1. TRIAL - FIXDIXG OF FACTS EFFECT OF sideration of a loan of $3,000 by Frederick STIPULATION or Facts.
S. Crisman to Roy S. Lanterman, These Where a cause is tried to the court on a stipulation as to the facts in detail, but not
facts were known to the lender. In 1900 embracing an ultimate fact in issue, it is the Ammoretta J. conveyed to Roy S. Lanterman rinty of the court to find such fact if it may be
the mortgaged property. In the meanwhile inferred from the stipulated facts, and such a finding is entitled to the same weight as one
three other notes had been made by members based on conflicting evidence.
of the Lanterman family to Crisman, to [Ed. Xote. For cases in point, see vol. 46,
wit: A note for $1.000, dated January 6, Cent. Dig. Trial, $ S$0.]
1896, payable on or before eight years after 5. EXECUTORS -- ESTOPIEL -- MORTGAGE -- RE dlate; il te for $.760, dated March 20, 1890, LEASE.
payable on or before eight years after date; Defendant's testatrix executed a mortgage
and a note for $2.800, dated July 1, 18996, securing her note, and afterward gave to the mortgagee other notes signed also by her son
payable on or before six years after date. and one by defendant, who was her husband, All three of these notes were signed by Amand afterward her executor. She subsequently
moretta J. and Roy S. Lanterman, and the conveyed the mortgaged property to the son. who, with her consent, executed a trust deed
last, the one for $2.800, bore, in addition, thereon to the mortgagee as additional security
the signature of J. L. Lanterman, the husand securing all of the notes. After her death band of Ammoretta. In October, 1900, Fredthe property was sold under the trust deed free
erick S. (risman died, leaving a will by of incumbrance, and the purchase money was paill only on the execution of a release of the
which Albert J. Crisman and Dwight N. original mortgage and a certificate from an Lowell were named executors. The will was abstract company that the property was free duly proved, and letters testamentary issued. of incumbrance. Defendant attended the sale, made no objection to the terms, and demanded
On August 1, 1902, all of the principal of that the proceeds be applied first to payment
said four notes and some of the interest be. of the later notes, but in this he acted individ ing unpaid, Roy S. Lanterman made a deed ually, and not as executor. The money was so of trust to Albert J. Crisman, as trustee, applied, leaving a balance due on the note of testatrix. Feld, that the acquiescence and acts
whereby, as security for these notes, he conof defendant did not estop him as executor from
veyed to said Crisman lot 9 of the Rancho defending against an action to charge the es La Canada, with the shares of water stock tate with liability for such balance on th
above mentioned. ground that it was released by the failure to
The property described apply the proceeds of the sale thereon or by the
included that which was covered by the mortrelease of the mortgage.
gage given in 1895. The deed of trust, in
which the grantor and his wife were describ sented a claim (as upon a note secured by ed as parties of the first part, Albert J. mortgage) to Ammoretta J. Lanterian's exCrisman as party of the second part, and the ecutor. The claim having been rejected, this executors of Frederick S. Crisman's will as action, in form one to foreclose a nortgage, parties of the third part, provided for the was commenced. Separate answers were sale of the property by the second party, in filed, the defendants relying, in substance, the event that any of the notes remained un upon the release of the mortgage as a depaid on the 1st day of May, 1903. In addi fense. The case was presented to the sution to the ordinary provisions of deeds of perior court upon an agreed statement of trust to secure indebtedness, the instrument | facts, and judgment went for the defendants. contained certain recitals and provisions The plaintiffs appeal, which will be referred to hereafter. The While the complaint is in the familiar deed of trust was accompanied by a written form used in actions for the foreclosure of consent to its execution, signed by Ammoret mortgages, the plaintiffs' theory really is ta J. Lanterman and her husband. In May, that there is no mortgage to foreclose, and 1903, no payments having been made on that they are entitled to a money judgment account of either principal or interest since against Ammoretta's estate, payable in due . the making of the deed of trust, the trustee course of administration. They concede, in gave the required notice of sale to be had on effect, that if, at the time of the trustee's June 2, 1903. Prior to this tiine, Ammoretta sale, the $5,000 note was secured by a subJ. Lanterman had died testate, and her hus sisting mortgage on property which had been band had been appointed executor of her conveyed by the mortgagor, and, if the mortwill. At the time and place fixed, the trustee gagee, without the consent of such mortgagor offered the property for sale. J. L. Lanter (or her executor), gave to the owner of the man was present, as was Frank D. Lanter land a valid release of the mortgage, they, as man, one of his sons, together with M. W. payees of the note, could not hold the mortConkling, who was the attorney for the ex gagor (or her estate) to a personal liability ecutor of Ammoretta's will and also for thereon. And this conclusion is, of course, inFrank D. Before calling for bids, the trustee evitable under our statutory system of enread the published notice of sale, and a forcing the payment of obligations secured “statement of conditions of sale.” The no by mortgage, as construed by this court. tice made no reference to any mortgage or While a mortgage creates merely a lien as other incumbrance, but the statement of con security for the debt, the Code provides that ditions declared, among other things, that a there can be but one action for the recovery deposit must be made by the successful bid of a debt so secured. Code Civ. Proc. $ der, and that the balance of the purchase 726. By the judgment in such action, the price would be payable "as soon as the Title land is subjected to a sale for the purpose of Insurance & Trust Company can certify that satisfying the plaintiff's demand, and if the the title is in the successful purchaser, free proceeds be insufficient a judgment for the and clear of all incumbrances.” These pa balance is then docketed against the defendpers having been read in the hearing of J. ants personally liable for the debt. Until L. Lanterman and M. W. Conkling, neither there shall be a deficiency on such sale, there of whom made any objection or said any can be no personal judgment against the thing regarding the conditions of sale, J. L. mortgagor, who is entitled to have his debt Lanterman, by Mr. Conkling, stated that he paid out of the land so far as the proceeds would require the proceeds of the sale to be realized on foreclosure sale may render payapplied. First, upon the $2,800 note; sec ment possible. The land is thus made priond, upon the $500 note; third, upon the marily liable for the payment of the obliga$1,000 note; ,
and, lastly, upon the $5,000 tion, and the mortgagor can be called on note of June 18, 1895, executed by Ammoretta to pay only where the proceeds of a sale of J. Lanterman alone. Thereupon the property the land are insufficient. He is, therefore, was offered and struck off to Frank D. entitled to insist that the mortgagee sball Lanterman for $10,000, that being the high- not, by releasing the land, which should be est bid. The required deposit was made, and made to pay the debt, throw upon him a some two weeks later, Albert J. Crisman, as personal liability therefor. Bartlett v. Cotexecutor, acting under an order of court, ex tle, 63 Cal. 366; Biddel v. Brizzolara, 64 ecuted a release of the mortgage of June 18, Cal. 351, 362, 30 Pac. 609; Bull v. Coe, 77 1895. The deed was delivered to the pur Cal. 51, 18 Pac. 808, 11 Am. St. Rep. 233; chaser, and the balance of the purchase mon Porter v. Muller, 65 Cal. 512, 4 Pac. 531; ey paid to the trustee, who applied it to Barbieri V. Ramelli, 84 Cal. 151, 23 Pac. the payment of the four notes in the order 1086; McKean v. German American Savings in which the application had been demanded. Bank, 118 Cal. 334, 50 Pac. 656; Woodward Thereby the three smaller notes were paid, V. Brown, 119 Cal. 283, 51 Pac. 2, 542, 63 and there remained a sum for application Am. St. Rep. 108. Recognizing these wel]. upon the principal and interest of the $5,000 settled rules, the appellants deny their apnote sufficient to reduce the unpaid part of plicability here by contending: First, that such note to $2,274.41. For this amount the by the execution of the trust deed, the mortexecutors of Frederick S. Crisman's will pre gage became merged in the new security
with the consent of the mortgagor, so that, the substantial rights of any of the parties. the debt thereafter was not one secured by Whether the execution of the deed of trust mortgage; second, that even if the mortgage accomplished such a merger of the mortgage, survived the making of the trust deed, the or, as it may be termed, a novation of securiestate of Ammoretta J. Lanterman consented, ties, is a question of the intention of the parat the trustee's sale, to the release of the ties, to be derived from their acts. It is mortgage given, or (which would amount to not, in a legal sense, impossible for a mortthe same thing) such estate is, by the con gage to continue to exist, where there has duct of the executor at the time of the sale, been given to the mortgagee a further seestopped to deny that it consented to the curity on the same land for the same debt. release. And, finally, if the court should be | It is argued that such situation may produce against the appellants on both these points, anomalous results, as, for example, if, by they urge, third, that the purported release a sale under the junior security, the title to of mortgage was (for reasons which will ap the land should become vested in the holder pear liereafter) void and of no effect, and of the prior mortgage. But this might haptherefore cannot destroy their right to a pen in any case where a deed of trust is judgment, which, under this view, should be given on land subject to an existing mortone fore losing the mortgage. If any one of gage, and, even where the legal title becomes these propositions be sound, it destroys the vested in the mortgagee, equity will someeffect of the contention that Ammoretta, as times, to avoid injustice, treat the mortgage a mortgagor, is relieved by the release of as alive in determining the rights of the parthe land from the lien of the mortgage. ties. The language of the deed of trust here And it may be remarked incidentally that in question would seem to indicate an inany of these positions, if it be well taken, tention that the mortgage should continue is equally fatal to the respondents' con to exist. The instrument first recites that tention (which appears to have been adopt- Roy S. Lanterman had borrowed from Freded by the learned judge of the trial court)
erick Crisman the sums represented by the that, under all the circumstances, Roy be four promissory notes above mentioned (incame, in equity, the principal on the mort cluding the $5,000 note signed by Ammorgage debt sued on, and Ammoretta a surety, etta), that the parties have agreed that all and that the estate of the latter was er the notes shall be deemed to have matured onerated by the release of the mortgage on May 1, 1903, and that Roy agrees to pay without Roy's consent, and the consequent all of the notes, whether executed by him or release of Roy, the principal debtor. For, not, and then grants the lot 9 of the Rancho if there was no mortgage after the deed of La Canada, in consideration of the indebtedtrust was given, Roy could not, nor could ness, "and for the purpose of further securhis surety, be affected by a paper purport- | ing any of said promissory notes which may ing to release it; if the release was with the now be secured by any mortgage consent of the surety, it would not relieve etc.” The instrument contains, in addition, such surety from liability; and, lastly, if the provisions relative to reconveyance or there was no valid release, neither principal sale which are customary in deeds of this nor surety has ground for complaint. It character, and provides that in case of a is unnecessary, therefore, to decide the ques sale which shall not realize sufficient to pay tion, which is fully argued in the briefs, the entire indebtedness, "the said parties of as to whether Ammoretta was, as to the the third part shall retain, have and possess Crisman estate, a principal debtor or a the same remedies to enforce the payment surety. Whether she was the one or the of said promissory notes, or any of them, other, her estate is liable unless there was which they would have or possess if this deed à subsisting mortgage which was released of trust had not been executed.” The clauses as to the owner of the land without her con quoted certainly indicate that it was not the sent or that of her executor.
intention of the parties to have the new se. First. Did the execution of the deed of curity supplant the old. It is described as trust with the consent of Ammoretta super “further security," which, in the ordinary sede the mortgage? The appellants' conten acceptation of the term, means additional, tion is that the trust deed, being given to not substituted, or superior, security; and, besecure (with other notes) the same obligation sides, the executors retain all the remedies secured by the mortgage, and furnishing, as they had before, one of which was to foresecurity, the same property described in the close the mortgage on the $5,000 note. The mortgage, in favor of the same obligees, it argument that the parties would not be likely inust be assumed that the intention of the to intend to contract for two forced sales parties (including Ammoretta, who consented of the same property to satisfy (in part) the to the trust deed) was to substitute a new se sane debt does not seem to us a sufficient curity, to wit, that of the deed of trust, for ground for disregarding any of the express the existing security of the mortgage. If provisions of their agreement. We think that be so, the mortgage was, in effect, then that even if the deed of trust had been made released by mutual consent, and the subse by Ammoretta, the mortgagor, herself, it quent formal release, following the trustee's should not be construed as accomplishing a sale, was a vain and idle act, not affecting merger of the mortgage. And, when we con
sider the terms of her consent to the deed, , not in harmony with later decisions. Reay the conclusion that there was no substitution v. Butler, 93 Cal. 206, 30 Pac. 208; Priest v. is strengthened. She sigtied a writing, which Brown, 100 Cal. 626, 33 Pac. 323; Sheehan provided that "said trust deed shall not be V. Osborn, 138 Cal. 515, 71 Pac. 622. In the deemed to in any manner whatsoever affect or case at bar, the appellants rely upon the waive any rights which the * * estate conduct of J. L. Lanterman at the trustee's of F. S. Crisman, deceased, may now or here sale as constituting consent by the estate of after have against the undersigned
* * *
Ammoretta, or an estoppel to deny consent. upon or by reason of the said promissory notes One element of such conduct consisted of his or any of them. * *
*” This consent failure to object when the trustee read the was intended to waive any defense which conditions, showing that the title would be might be claimed to have accrued to Ammor certified to the purchaser free and clear of että on any of her notes by reason of the incumbrances. So far as this silence is conexecution of the deed. But it was not in cerned, we do not see that it conclusively tended to give new and greater rights against established an estoppel. No doubt there are her. If the mortgage shoull be regarded as cases in which mere silence may work an merged, her liability on her $7,0009 note, estoppel. But to effect this, it is essential: which originally was merely "contingent on First, that the party against whom the estopthe fact that a sale of the mortgageul prem pel is invoked has stood by and seen the ises shall satisfy the debt and costs" (Biddel other party committing an act infringing v. Brizzolara, supra), would be converted into upon his rights; and second, that his failure a liability, which might be enforced (as it is to speak has induced the person committing sought to be enforced here) after the security the act to believe that he assents to its being had been applied to other debts, or, perhaps, committed. De Bussche v. Alt, 8 Chan. Div. without any recourse to the security at all. 286; Carpy v. Dowdell, 115 Cal. 677, 17 Pac. See Herbert Kraft Company V. Bryan, 140 695. Here the proposed sale, free of incumCal. 73, 73 Pac. 71.J.
brance, in no way infringed upon the rights Second. Did the estate of Ammoretta J. of the estate represented by J. L. Lanterman Lanterman consent to the release of the (even if we assume that he attended the sale mortgage? The answer to this question, de in his representative capacity). The release pends largely upon the effect that is to be of the mortgage by the voluntary act of the given to the findings of fact made by the mortgagee would not injure the estate, but trial court. Among them is a finding that would benefit it by relieving it of personal the plaintiffs rele: sed the mortgage "with liability for the debt. Nor did his nonaction out the consent of * * * the estate of in any way mislead the plaintiffs or induce Aminoretta J. Lanterman."
J. Lanterman.” As has been them to believe that the estate of Ammoretta stated, the cause was tried upon an agreed consented to be held liable on the $5,000 statement of facts, and it is claimed by the note without foreclosure of the mortgage. appellants that where the facts are agreed, The facts were as well known to plaintiffs no findings are necessary, and that, if find as to Lanterman. He had no reason to supings are made, they are entitled to no weight. pose that they, represented at the sale, as There have been several rulings by this they were, by counsel, were ignorant of the court to the effect that the want of findings legal effect of their proposed conduct, and affords no ground for reversing a judgment was under no duty to warn them that a rewhere the facts have been agreed upon. lease of a mortgage without the consent of Gregory v. Gregory, 102 Cal. 50, 36 Pac. 361; the mortgagor relieved such mortgagor from Muller v. Rowell, 110 Cal. 318, 42 Pac. 801. personal liability. And the request or deBut here the facts embraced in the stipula mand for the application of the proceeds does tion were not the ultimate facts put in issue not raise a necessary inference that J. L. Lanby the pleadings, but were (as to the question terman, as executor, consented to the release of consent) a recital of the circumstances sur of the mortgage, or that his testatrix's estate rounding the sale, from which the ultimate was estopped to deny consent. The demand fact of consent is, as is claimed, inferable. was that the proceeds be applied to the payIf those circumstances would support an ment of the smaller notes before the payinference either way, it was not only proper
ment of the $3,000 mortgage note. The inbut necessary that the trial court should terests of the estate, as mortgagor, required make a finding of the ultimate fact. Such either that the mortgage, which made the finding when made is entitled to the same estate's liability contingent on a foreclosure weight as any other finding on conflicting sale, should remain, or that, if the mortgage evidence, and will not be overthrown unless was to be released, the proceeds of the sale the facts stipulated cannot by any reasona should be applied first to the satisfaction of ble inference support the conclusion reached the mortgage debt.
debt. Considered by itself, by the trial court. The cases relied on by then, the demand that the $5,000 note be appellants as establishing the rule that no paid last, would imply, not a consent by Ampresumptions will be indulged in favor of the moretta's estate that the land be sold free findings where all the evidence before the from the mortgage, but rather a requirement trial court was written (Wilson v. Cross, 33 that the mortgage lien remain for the protecCal, 60; Lauder v. Beers, 48 Cal. 516) are tion of the estate. Furthermore, J. L. Lan
terman did not state that he was acting as question to the abstract company for the purexecutor in attending the sale. As co-maker pose of completing the sale. The abstract of one of the notes secured by the mortgage, company gave the purchaser the certificate he bad an individual interest in the proceedl- agreed upon, and paid the purchase price, preing. And, in demanding that the proceeds viously deposited with it by him, to the trusof the sale be applied first to the satisfaction tee, who applied it on the indebtedness seof his own debt, and last to that of the debt (ured by the deed of trust. Such application which, for the benefit of the estate, shouli | paid in part the $5,000 note now sued on, and have been paid first, it may well be said that the plaintiffs recognize such payment in their he was acting in his individual, not in his complaint. They cannot be permitted to rerepresentative, capacity. The trial court, by
tain the purchaser's money, and still claim, its finding as to consent, took this view, as against him, that the mortgage, the rewhich finds additional support from the fact, lease of which was a part of the considerastipulated in the record, that J. L Larterman tion, still subsists as a lien upon his land. would, if present, testify that he was acting And, if the mortgage cannot be enforced as for himself, and not for the estate. The fac. against the owner of the land, it cannot, that his demand included the application of for the reasons hereinbefore stated, be the the proceeils of the sale of two notes in which foundation of an action against the original he was not individually interested is entitled
mortgagor. The plaintiffs contend that, as to some weight, but is not sufficient, in itself, executors, they had no power to release the to overthrow the finding that the estate did mortgage except upon full satisfaction of the not consent to the release of the mortgage. debt. But a sum was realized sufficient to
Third. Was there a valid release of the satisfy the mortgage, and if a full satisfaction mortgage? The instrument executed by the was necessary to authorize the release which plaintiffs, so far as is material to the present had been agreed upon, the purchase price inquiry, reads as follows: "Without in any should, so far as affects the purchaser's manner waiving the right of the said exer'll rights, be deemed to have been so applied. tors of tlie estate of Frederick S. (risman, The fact that J. L. Lanterman and the trusdeceased, to recover from the said estate of tee agreed upon a different application cannot Amoretta J. Lanterman, deceased, the bal bind Frank. This not being a voluntary ance of the principal and interest unpaid payment, neither the debtor nor the creditor upon the said promissory note for $5.000; had any right to direct the application of the expressly reserving into said estate of proceeds. The application is to be made by Freslerick S. Crisman * * * all the rights the court according to the equities of the now possessed by said estate * * to (ase. Orleans (o. Mat Bank V. Moore, 112 recover and receive from the estate of said N. Y. 513, 20 N. E. 357, 3 L. R. A. 302, S Am. Animoretta J. Lanterman, deceased
St. Rep. 775; Blackstone Bank v. IIill. 10 Pick. the impaid balance of the principal and in (Mass.) 129; Murdock v. Clarke, 38 Cal. 384, terest of said promissory note for $3,000, the 26 Pac. 601. Without undertaking to review umdersigneil * * * does hereby remise, the many decisions, not all in harmony, upon release. relinquish and discharge from the the proper application of funds derived from saill mortgage and from the lien thereof all forced sales, we think it sufficient to say the lands in said deed of trust described," etc. that, under the peculiar circumstances of this The contention of plaintiffs is that, if the case, the equities, as between the estate of mortgage lien still existed, it could not be F. S. Crisman and Frank D. Lanterman, rereleased without releasing Ammoretta's es quired the amount paid by the latter to be tate, and that, therefore, a reservation of applied to the satisfaction of the mortgage rights against said estate prevented the re debt, if such satisfaction was essential to a lease from operating at all. We agree that valid release of the mortgage. there could not be a release of the lien of the From these views, it follows that judgment mortgage as to her and a retention of the was properly entered in favor of defendants. right to sue the mortgagor (unless she con The judgment is affirmed. sented), but the conclusion that the release fails does not follow. Whatever might be We concur: SIIAW, J.; ANGELLOTTI, J. the proper construction of the instrument, considered by itself, the circumstances under
(119 Cal, 027) which it was given estop the plaintiffs, as against the defendant Frank D. Lanterman,
WADLEIGII et al. r. PHELPS. (Sac. 1.316.) to deny that the mortgage was released. The
(Supreme Court of California. Aug. 30, 1906.
Rehearing Denied Sept. 28, 1.900.) property was sold to him free of incum
1. EQUITY-BILL-LACHES-DEMU'RRER. brances, and he bid $10,000 upon the under
The defense of laches may be taken adstanding that the balance of the purchase vantage of by demurrer to a bill for want of price beyond the deposit paid at the sale was facts, where laches is apparent on the face of
the bill. to be paid upon a certificate being made by
Ed. Xote.--For cases in point. sez vol. 19, the abstract company that there was no in
Cent. Dig. Equity, $ 498.] cumbrance. The executors obtained an or
2. SAVE AMENDMENT. der of court authorizing them to release this
Where plaintiff sued to have certain deels, mortgage, and delivered the document in absolute in form, declared to be mortgages