Question

Clarence Morgan, Jr., owned Easy Way Automotive, a car dealership in D’Lo, Mississippi. Easy Way sold a truck to Loyd Barnard, who signed a note for the amount of the price payable to Trustmark National Bank in six months. Before the note came due, Barnard returned the truck to Easy Way, which sold it to another buyer. Using some of the proceeds from the second sale, Easy Way sent a check to Trustmark to pay Barnard’s note. Meanwhile, Barnard obtained another truck from Easy Way, financed through another six- month note payable to Trustmark. After eight of these deals, some of which involved more than one truck, an Easy Way check to Trustmark was dishonored. In a suit in a Mississippi state court, Trustmark sought to recover the amounts of two of the notes from Barnard. Trustmark had not secured titles to two of the trucks covered by the notes, however, and this complicated Barnard’s efforts to reclaim the vehicles from the later buyers.
(a) On what basis might Barnard be liable on the Trustmark notes? Would he be primarily or secondarily liable? Could this liability be discharged on the theory that Barnard’s right of recourse had been impaired when Trustmark did not secure titles to the trucks covered by the notes? Explain.
(b) Easy Way’s account had been subject to other recent overdrafts, and a week after the check to Trustmark was returned for insufficient funds, Morgan committed suicide. At the same time, Barnard was unable to obtain a mortgage because the unpaid notes affected his credit rating. How do the circumstances of this case under-score the importance of practicing business ethics?



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  • CreatedJune 18, 2014
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