The cases of Edwards v. Central Motor Co.' and Hunter v. Moore offer interesting variations upon the same basic problem. In the Edwards case plaintiff automobile dealer sold a car to X in what was intended to be a cash transaction. X paid for the car with a worthless check and received possession of the car together with a carbon copy of a bill of sale executed by plaintiff. X then took the automobile to another dealer and sold it to him, giving the purchaser a bill of sale executed by X. Defendant was present at this transaction; at no time did X exhibit the copy of his bill of sale from plaintiff. Defendant then bought the car from the second dealer. When the check received by plaintiff was dishonored, he brought replevin to recover the car.
It seems to be agreed that the parties to the original sale did not intend that title should pass to X until the check was paid. This being true, the title remained in plaintiff under the provisions of the Uniform Sales Act. Defendant's principal contention was that plaintiff, having clothed X with indicia of ownership (the copy of the bill of sale) and having delivered possession of the chattel to X, was estopped to assert his title against an innocent purchaser for value without notice. Obviously, however, as Judge Hickerson pointed out, estoppel requires more than misleading acts on the part of the plaintiff; there must also be reliance and a subsequent detriment to the defendant. In the Edwards case there was no evidence whatever as to reliance, so that plaintiff was entitled to recover the automobile.
Clyde L. Ball,
Personal Property and Sales -- 1955 Tennessee Survey,
8 Vanderbilt Law Review
Available at: https://scholarship.law.vanderbilt.edu/vlr/vol8/iss5/12