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J. I. CASE CREDIT v. BARTON

November 13, 1985

J. I. CASE CREDIT, Plaintiff
v.
BILL BARTON a/k/a WILLIAM FRANKLIN BARTON, JR., , a/k/a W. F. Barton, Jr., a/k/a William F. Barton d/b/a Barton Farms; Floran Miller and Audrey Miller, His Wife; and Citizens Bank of Jonesboro, Defendants; Citizens Bank of Jonesboro, Floran Miller, and Audrey Miller, Third Party Plaintiffs; Hornor-Morris Abstract Company, Third Party Defendant.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: WOODS

 FINDINGS OF FACT

 1. Plaintiff J. I. Case Credit obtained a judgment entered August 24, 1982 against Bill Barton d/b/a Bill Barton Farms in the amount of $12,946.36 with interest in the amount of 10% from April 5, 1982 to August 24, 1982, and thereafter at the federal rate plus attorney's fees in the amount of $1,294.64 (Plaintiff's Exhibit [hereinafter referred to as PX] 1). This judgment was apparently taken in the name of Bill Barton because the lease to Case and financing statement were signed "Bill Barton" (Defendant's Exhibit [hereinafter referred to as DX] 1).

 2. This judgment was filed in Phillips County, Arkansas on September 13, 1982 in the office of the Circuit Clerk and Recorder and is abstracted in Judgment Record Book 9 at page 3 (PX 6).

 3. Under the name of William Franklin Barton, Jr., the judgment debtor inherited the following Phillips County property by his father's will of April 7, 1978:

 A certified copy of the will was filed for record on May 5, 1982 (DX 7) after the death of Barton's father on July 2, 1980 (PX 5). Prior to the making of this will, the wife of William Franklin Barton, Sr. had died. During the pertinent period involved herein, there was no William Franklin Barton, Sr.

 4. The property described in paragraph No. 3, supra, was sold by the judgment debtor to Floran Miller, et ux on October 13, 1983 by warranty deed signed "William F. Barton." The sale was financed in part by a loan from the Citizens Bank of Jonesboro, Arkansas and secured by a mortgage dated October 20, 1983. In this transaction all the parties including the bank were represented by attorney Curtis L. Huckaby of Lake City, Arkansas.

 5. All the parties mentioned in paragraph No. 4, supra, personally or through their attorneys knew that J. I. Case had a judgment against Barton. They did not know that the judgment had been filed for record in Phillips County so as to constitute a lien on Barton's Phillips County property.

 6. The parties mentioned in paragraph No. 4 all relied on an abstract prepared by Hornor-Morris Abstract Co of Helena, Arkansas to conclude that the Case judgment had not been filed in Phillips County. This abstract was certified from July 6, 1951 to March 4, 1983 at 9:00 A.M. The certificate recites that among others not involved herein it is for the benefit of William Franklin Barton, Jr. and the Citizens Bank of Jonesboro. It also recites that within the certified time frame there was no judgment against William Franklin Barton, Jr. The judgment in favor of Case filed September 13, 1982 was not included in the abstract because it was indexed under Bill Barton d/b/a Bill Barton Farms. The abstractor did not search for judgments under the name of "Bill Barton."

 7. The abstract was extended and certified to March 23, 1983 at 9:00 A.M. from March 4, 1983 for the benefit of William Franklin Barton, Jr., the Citizens Bank and others not pertinent herein. It certified that there were no judgments against William Franklin Barton, Jr. Included in this certified abstract was a satisfied judgment in favor of Frances Bailey, et al against W. F. Barton, Jr. filed March 11, 1983. (DX 7).

 8. The abstract was extended to June 27, 1983 and certificated to, among others, William Franklin Barton, Jr. No judgments were shown against the latter. It was subsequently extended to October 17, 1983 for the benefit of Floran Miller, et ux among others not involved herein. No judgments were shown against William Franklin Barton, Jr. It was last extended to November 1, 1983 for the benefit of Floran Miller, et ux. There was no reference to Barton in the certification of judgments. (DX 7).

 9. Relying on the above-mentioned abstract, attorney Huckaby rendered a title opinion for the benefit of Floran Miller, et ux, Barton, and the Citizens Bank in which he failed to call attention to the judgment lien of J. I. Case Credit filed in Phillips County. (DXs 4 & 5).

 10. On November 2, 1983 Mr. Anthony Bartels, attorney for Case, directed the following letter to Mr. Walter Morris, President ...


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