The creditor was a sound engineer

The creditor was a sound engineer

Plaintiff creditor appealed a judgment of the Superior Court of Los Angeles County (California), which granted defendant debtor’s motion for a judgment of nonsuit and dismissed his action to recover on a promissory note.

The creditor was a sound engineer but was not licensed as a private investigator. He recorded proceedings of meetings, speeches, and personal conversations. The debtor contacted the creditor to rent recording equipment to place in her husband’s office. The creditor took the lessee to the office, ada violations & the ca unruh civil rights act she showed him where to install the microphones, and the creditor installed it. He fixed a microphone and transmitting device to the debtor’s person, and, at her direction, placed microphones in her home. After the bill was presented, the debtor executed a promissory note. The motion for nonsuit was made on the sole ground that the creditor’s services were those of a private investigator and that he had no license. The court reversed the judgment granted to the debtor. The creditor had recorded conversations for law enforcement, and it could have been inferred that it was done to gather evidence for use before a court under Cal. Bus. & Prof. Code § 7521. However the presumption under Cal. Code Civ. Proc. § 1963(1), (19), (33) was that the creditor acted lawfully. The creditor did not conduct investigation but merely furnished the devices to the debtor. She carried out her own investigation.

The court reversed the judgment of the trial court.

Plaintiff note holder challenged an order of the court of appeals (California), which issued a writ of mandate. Defendant corporation had sought a writ to compel the trial court to grant its motions to quash service of summons and to vacate plaintiff’s default judgment and levy of execution against defendant.

Defendant corporation’s application to the commissioner of corporations for a permit to issue stock stated that a person was its secretary-treasurer. Plaintiff note holder relied on defendant’s application and attempted to serve defendant by delivery of summons to the person. Defendant then argued that since the person was not in fact its secretary-treasurer, service upon it failed and plaintiff’s judgment, founded on that service, was void. The court found that by representing the person as its secretary-treasurer, defendant conferred on him ostensible authority to accept service on defendant’s behalf; consequently, service upon the person sufficed to establish personal jurisdiction over defendant. The court concluded that defendant, having misled plaintiff, bore the responsibility for plaintiff’s failure to serve an authorized corporate officer, and should not be permitted to strip itself of assets in order to avoid the payment of an uncontested judgment.

The court denied the writ of certiorari and the peremptory writ of mandate and discharged the alternative writ of mandate previously issued by the court of appeal. The court concluded that plaintiff note holder’s service upon a person named as defendant corporation’s secretary-treasurer was sufficient to establish personal jurisdiction over defendant.

Ellen Hollington

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