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When might this action have been instituted is the ques. tion, for from that time the statute must run." These facts and the query have an exact parallel in the case at bar, and this case should be controlled by the conclusion in that. The court announced its conclusion as follows: “When the attorney was chargeable with negligence or unskillfulness, his contract was violated, and the action might have been bustained immediately. Perhaps, in that extent, no more than nominal damages may be proved, and no more recovered; but, on the other hand, it is perfectly clear that the proof of actual damage may extend to facts that occur and grow out of the injury, even up to the day of the verdict. If so, it is clear the damage is not the cause of the action.” It is held that the statute commenced to run at the time of the mistake.
We do not forget that it is averred in the petition 243 that the defect in the abstract was not known until the damage alleged had been sustained; but that fact does not arrest the running of the statute. It is said in Bank of Hartford County v. Waterman, 26 Conn. 324, that “ignorance of his rights on the part of a person against whom the statute had begun to run will not suspend its operation. He may discover his injury too late to take advantage of his appropriate reinedy." Again, it would seem that our statute makes a plea of fraud or mistake necessary to change the time when the cause of action accrues: Code, sec. 2530. Crawford v. Gaulden, 33 Ga. 173, is also a case grounded upon the neglect and unskillful act of an attorney in the management of a cause, and to avoid the operation of the statute of limitations the plaintiff alleged that the negligent and unskillful acts were unknown to him when done, and not known till about 1853, and the limitation period was four years from the time the cause of action accrued. The opinion upon that particular branch of the case contains this language: “The doctrine is well settled that, in an action against an agent for negligence and unskillfulness, the statute of limitations commences to run from the time the negligent or unskillful act was committed, and plaintiff's ignorance of the negligence or unskillfulness cannot affect the bar of the statute." Authorities are cited in support of the rule, and see, also, Mardis v. Shackleford, 4 Ala. 493; Governor v. Gordon, 15 Ala. 72; Ellis v. Kelso, 18 B. Mon. 296; Bank of Utica v. Childs, 6 Cow. 238; Sinclair v. Bank of S. C., 2 Strob. 344. In this case, when the abo
stract was delivered with the alleged defect, there was a breach of the contract to prepare a perfect one, and at least nominal damages were recoverable, and we think it safe to say that the expenses of its procurement were within the rule of general damages. Thereafter, for five years, the right of action continued, during which time the door of inquiry was open to 244 know the facts, and we think there is no rule of public policy requiring us to extend the time by a construction of the statute that to us seems to be against the current of authority.
2. It is next urged that the action is not barred, because the contract is a continuing one. In support of the proposition several cases are cited. Comment on one of them will be sufficient, as it will be applicable to all. McCay v. McDowell, 80 Iowa, 146, is based on a breach of contract for support, the contract being for the support of the plaintiff during his natural life. The contract was made in March, 1878, and there was a breach in October, 1878. Under a claim that the action was barred by the statute, it having been commenced more than five years after the breach, the contract was held to be a continuing one, on the authority of Riddle v. Beattie, 77 Iowa, 169. Those cases are unlike this. In those cases an obligation or duty continued from day to day and year to year. The defendants were every day and year required to act in the fulfillment of the contract. It is not a case of new damages arising because of a breach long since made, but a case of a continuing breach of failure of duty, from which new damages arise, and the actions were permitted for breaches committed within the period of limitation, and not for damages happening within the period, as a result of a breach committed beyond it. In this case the duties of the defendant company ceased with the delivery of the abstract. It owed no further obligation to the defendant. As is said in Wilcox v. Plummer, 4 Pet. 172: “Both the con. tract and the breach admit of a definite assignment of date." After the delivery of the abstract the contract was executed, and the breach complete. There has been no additional breach since; only new damages for the old breach.
245 3. The appellant insists that this action can be maintained under the code, section 2524, as follows: “Successive actions may be maintained upon the contract or transaction whenever, after the former action, a new cause of action has arisen therefroin.” If the section could be held applicable to
a case like this, there is nothing in the language to indicate an intent to permit such actions beyond the period of limita. tion. However, the solution may be put upon another ground. This statute was applied in McCay v. McDowell, 80 Iowa, 146, and it is to such continuing contracts that it applies. The statute has no application to additional damages bappening or discovered because of some particular breach of a contract. It is applied when there is a continued or repeated breach by way of acts or neglect. Richmond v. Dubuque etc. Ry. Co., 33 Iowa, 422, is of this latter class.
The fourth proposition discussed by the appellant is as to the strict accountability to which abstractors are held by the law, and we need not discuss it. The reasoning is strong, and, barring the application to this case, it accords with our view of the law, That strict accountability, we think, must be required in a case of this kind, within the period that the law fixes for actions upon unwritten contracts, where neither fraud nor mistake is the ground for relief.
The judgment of the district court is in harmony with our view, and it is a flirmed.
LIMITATIONS OF ACTIONS IN CASES OF NEGLIGENCE OR TORT.-The statuto of limitations begins to run against an action for misconduct or negligence from the date when the act of misconduct or negligence is completed, and it is immaterial whether the negligence out of which the cause of action arises is the breach of an implied contract or the affirmative disregard of some positive duty: Latlin v. Gillette, 95 Cal. 317; 29 Am. St. Rep. 115, and note.
LIMITATIONS OF ACTIONS IN CASES OF Mistake: See the note to Lattin V. Gillette, 95 Cal. 317; 29 Am. St. Rep. 120.
ANDREGG v. BRUNSKILL.
(87 Iowa, 851.) CHATTEL MORTGAGES.— A DESCRIPTION IN A CHATTEL MORTGAGE IS SUFFI.
CIENT if it will enable third persons, aided by the inquiries which the
instrument indicates and directs, to i lentify the property. CHATTEL MORTGAGES. —THE DESCRIPTION IN A CuatreL MORTGAGE refer.
ring to the ownership or location of the property mortgaged is of great importance, and the omission of these data may leave imperfect and void a description, whiclı, were they present, might properly be sus.
tained. CHATTEL MORTGAGE.- A DESCRIPTION OF PROPERTY MorrgaGED as “four.
teen steers one year old, crop off loft ear, and slit in the same ear; four heifers one year old, marked on ear as above steers," without any refer. ence or statement respecting the locatiou or ownership of the property, is insufficient and vo.d.
Ira T. Martin, for the appellants.
352 GRANGER, J. 1. John Beyer made to the plaintiff a mortgage on certain personal property. He afterward sold the property to the defendants, and this action is for the value thereof, because of a wrongful conversion. The plaintiff at the trial offered in evidence the mortgage, and an objection, which was overruled, presents the question of the Bufficiency of the description in the mortgage to impart constructive notice. The description is in these words: “Fourteen steers one year old, crop off left ear, and blit in same ear; four heifers one year old, marked on ear as above steers." It has long been the settled rule of this state, in chattel morto gage descriptions, that they will be sufficient if they will enable third persons, aided by inquiries which the instrument itself indicates and directs, to identify the property. This rule is announced in Smith v. McLean, 24 Iowa, 322, and it has been many times repeated. Many mortgage descriptions have been subjected to the test of this rule, and their validity thereby determined. It will be noticed that the description quoted is not aided by any statement as to the location or ownership of the property when the mortgage was executed. The importance of such statements to aid what may be 353 called doubtful descriptions have been noticed by this court, and we will refer briefly to some of them.
In Rhutasel v. Stephens, 68 Iowa, 627, "all my stock hogs, being forty, more or less, with the pigs now with them," is held sufficient. The balance of the description in the same mortgage is held insufficient, being, in part: “One span of colts, three years old; one gray, one bay.” This is certainly as definite a description as the other, except that it does not appear to whom they belonged. The same may he said of the following in the same mortgage: “One brindle cow six years old, and one cow four years old, with calf with her, blind in one eye. One roan cow six years old." It is said in the opinion, speaking of the mortgage description, and holding that it did not describe the property in such manner as to enable third parties, by inquiring, to identify it, that "it makes no reference to the ownership of the property, nor does it refer to its location."
In Wells v. Wilcox, 68 Iowa, 708, the description was general, as horses, buggies, etc., and the possession was stated
in the mortgagor. The description was held sufficient, the court saying: “It plainly shows that the property was, when the mortgage was executed, in the possession of the mortgagor, in Hardin county." In the same case, speaking of cases in which descriptions have been held insufficient, it is said they “ failed to direct inquiry for the identification of the property, by omitting to show in whom the possession of the property was when the mortgage was executed, or gave no means of identification, further than the bare statement of the species of the property, or its kind, with marks that would well apply to other property.” The marks described in the mortgage in this case could well apply to other cattle of the same age, and, as showing the fact, it may be said that the mortgagor had many other cattle with the same mark, and they were being sold 354 from time to time, and the mortgage would not so aid an inquiry as to enable a third party to distinguish the cattle in question from others. If the mortgage indicated their location or ownership at a particular time the advantages in the way of inquiry would be readily seen.
In Warner v. Wilson, 73 Iowa, 719, 5 Am. St. Rep. 710, the cattle were separately described by color, age, and name; and this court held the description insufficient, because of “no statement as to the present or past ownership of the property, nor of the place where it is now or has been kept."
It is hardly necessary to pursue the thought further. Any yearling steers or heifers with a crop and slit in the left ear, no matter how, when, or where made, would come within the description of this mortgage, and no matter where they were, or who was the owner. We have held that no presumption of ownership arises from the execution of the mortgage: Everett v. Brown, 64 Iowa, 420; Warner v. Wilson, 73 Iowa, 719; 5 Am. St. Rep. 710. We regard the description in the mortgage as insufficient.
2. It is said by the appellee that the question of the sufficiency of the description is one for the jury, and reference is made to Peterson v. Foli, 67 iowa, 402. The point of that case is misapprehended. Where the description in the mortgage is sufficient to authorize it in evidence the question of the identity of the property claimed with that described in the mortgage is a question for the jury. The question of the sufficiency of the description in a mortgage, to render it competent evidence, is for the court.