Friday, March 23, 2012

Putnam v. Shoaf case brief

Putnam v. Shoaf case brief summary
620 S.W.2d 510 (1981)

Appellant administrator sought review of the judgment of the trial court (Tennessee), which dismissed the administrator's claim against appellee succeeding partners to one half of certain funds that were paid into a court fund as a result of a judgment in favor of the partnership in its forgery action against a third party.

After the previous partner conveyed her partnership interest to the succeeding partners, it was discovered that the partnership's bookkeeper had embezzled funds. The partnership brought an action against the bookkeeper and the banks that honored any forged checks. Subsequently, the administrator, on behalf of the deceased previous partner, brought an action to recover one half of the amounts that the banks were ordered to pay into the court as a result of the partnership's forgery action. The trial court denied recovery to the administrator, and the administrator sought review.


  • On appeal, the court affirmed the findings of the trial court. 
  • The court held that the evidence of the previous partner's quitclaim deed showed that the intent of the previous partner was to convey the interest that she owned, which was her share of the profits and surplus. 
  • The court held that the asset that the partnership possessed in its claim against the banks was a partnership asset and not the personal assets of the individual partners. 
  • Therefore, the court ruled that this matter was not about mutual mistake but one of mutual ignorance for which the administrator was not entitled to recover.


The court affirmed the judgment of the trial court denying relief to the administrator in its claim against the succeeding partners to certain funds that were paid into a court fund for the benefit of the partnership.


  • This case stands for the proposition that a partner does not have any rights to specific partnership property. 
  • The partnership interest is an undivided interest, like a joint tenancy.
  • Thus, if the partnership had an unknown asset at the time of the transfer of partnership interest, such as an untapped oil reservoir or a legal claim, the former partner has no right to it.
  • The case seems to support the entity theory of partnership against the notion that a partner can have an individual claim against a third party for damages to the partnership.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Exploring Career Paths: What Can You Do with a Juris Doctor Degree?

Earning a Juris Doctor (JD) degree is a significant accomplishment, opening a wide array of career paths beyond the traditional legal practi...