Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Moe v. John Deere Co. case brief

Moe v. John Deere Co. case brief summary
516 N.W.2d 332 (1994)

Plaintiff purchaser appealed from the judgment of the Circuit Court of the Third Judicial Circuit, Codington County (South Dakota), which granted summary judgment in favor of defendants, the original holder of the contract and the contract assignee, in the purchaser's action for wrongful repossession, fraudulent repossession, commercially unreasonable sale, and failure to account for the surplus.

A purchaser of a tractor financed the purchase amount by agreeing to make five equal yearly installments. The purchaser became delinquent in his payments. The original holder of the contract later assigned the contract to another entity, and the tractor was repossessed and sold.


  • The court held that the original holder of the contract was not entitled to summary judgment on the claims of the purchaser. 
  • The court held that the purchaser breached the security agreement and the promissory note when he failed to timely make payment; however, the oral statements and conduct of the parties appeared to modify the written agreement. 
  • The court held that the repeated acceptance of late payments by a creditor who had the contractual right to repossess the property imposed a duty on the creditor to notify the debtor that strict compliance with the contract terms would be required before the creditor could lawfully repossess the collateral.
The court reversed the judgment and remanded for a new trial on the issue of whether the purchaser was in default.

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