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De Kalb Bank v. Klotz





Appeal from the Circuit Court of Kane County; the Hon. Richard Weiler, Judge, presiding.


Rehearing denied February 9, 1987.

Plaintiff, The De Kalb Bank (De Kalb), brought an action in replevin in the circuit court of Kane County against defendants, Dwight Klotz (Klotz) and Hinckley Grain Company, to recover possession of farm equipment, cattle, and grain owned by Klotz. Counter-plaintiff, Sandwich State Bank (Sandwich), intervened asserting a first-in-time priority lien to that of counterdefendants De Kalb and Klotz. The trial court, after a bench trial, awarded the cattle to Sandwich based upon its finding that Sandwich had a first-in-time priority lien to the later-in-time lien of De Kalb. De Kalb appeals asserting, as it did below, that it had a perfected purchase money security interest and, therefore, a priority lien in the cattle. The parties agree that only the cattle purchased by Klotz and delivered to him between February 3 and October 31, 1984, are involved in this appeal.

The record discloses that Sandwich acquired a security interest in the assets of Klotz' farm in 1973 to secure future farm loans. The financing statement it filed in 1973 with the Kane County recorder of deeds remained in effect up to and during the time of trial. De Kalb concedes that Sandwich held a perfected security interest in all of the subject cattle, albeit subordinate to that of De Kalb.

De Kalb's first known financing statement was filed in 1975 also covering all of the present and after-acquired assets of Klotz' farm. De Kalb's financing statement was continued in 1980 as required by section 9-403 of the Uniform Commercial Code (UCC) (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1979, ch. 26, par. 9-403). This financing statement lapsed in January of 1985. However, De Kalb also filed financing statements bearing the same general description of farm assets including "livestock" in 1982 and on February 7, 1984, covering "livestock" then owned and thereafter acquired by debtor Klotz.

The parties have stipulated that all the cattle in question were bought through the application of funds loaned by De Kalb. The cattle were obtained by Klotz through a series of transactions in which Klotz would buy the cattle from a selling merchant and pay for them by a check drawn on Klotz' account at De Kalb. Within a few days after the purchase, Klotz would go to De Kalb and borrow an amount equal to the amount of the invoice and the amount of the check written to the cattle seller. De Kalb deposited the loan amount directly to the debtor's account with De Kalb against which the check was written. The particular financing statement upon which De Kalb relies is the one filed February 7, 1984, which, therefore, was filed within 20 days of the first delivery (see Ill. Rev. Stat. 1983, ch. 26, par 9-107(b)), which occurred on February 3, 1984, and predates all subsequent deliveries.

De Kalb contends that: (1) its financing statement filed February 7, 1984, satisfies the requirements for a perfected purchase money security interest as to the cattle acquired between February 4 and November 30, 1984; (2) the general description of a variety of chattels but including "livestock" is a sufficient description in its financing statement to satisfy purchase money security interest status; (3) no exception is made in sections 9-107, 9-110, 9-402, or any other section of the UCC that would require more specific descriptions for the perfection of a purchase money security interest for an otherwise perfected security interest; (4) it is undisputed that the cattle in question were purchased with funds from the loans made by De Kalb for that purpose; and (5) purchase money security status can never be determined from the filed financing statement; rather, it must be determined from the facts of the transactions for which the security interest was given.

Sandwich maintains that: (1) De Kalb inadequately described the subject cattle in its February 7, 1984, financing statement as "livestock" so that, while that description was sufficient to give both Sandwich and De Kalb security interests in the cattle, it was insufficient to meet the test of a purchase money security interest so as to confer a priority over Sandwich's first-in-time perfected financing statement; (2) De Kalb's description of the cattle as "livestock" would defeat the notice objectives of the UCC (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1983, ch. 26, par. 9-101 et seq.) by not disclosing to one examining the financing statement the purchase money security interest claimed by De Kalb; and (3) the trial court erred in admitting into evidence the financing statement which De Kalb filed on February 7, 1984, because it was altered by De Kalb after the complaint in this case was filed.

Sandwich acknowledges that both banks have perfected "blanket liens" but maintains that since it was undisputably the first in time to have perfected its lien, it has the priority security interest in the cattle, which number approximately 200. Sandwich characterizes the issue before this court as a priority dispute between De Kalb and Sandwich, not as to who has the prior perfected security interest against the holder of a purchase money security interest, but rather one as to which of two perfected blanket lien creditors should prevail where Sandwich was indisputably the first to file and perfect its lien.

The question presented to us is whether De Kalb's undisputed security interest in "livestock" filed February 7, 1984, acquired a "purchase money security interest" priority by reason of De Kalb's advance of loan funds to purchase the specific cattle in which it claims a purchase money security interest priority.

Section 9-109(3) of the UCC defines "goods" for the purposes of the UCC as "farm products" if they are "livestock" in their unmanufactured state in the possession of a debtor engaged in raising, fattening, grazing, or other farming operations. (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1983, ch. 26, par. 9-109(3).) Section 9-402 of the UCC provides:

"A financing statement is sufficient if it gives the names of the debtor and the secured party, is signed by the debtor, gives an address of the secured party from which information concerning the security interest may be obtained, gives a mailing address of the debtor and contains a statement indicating the types, or describing the items, of collateral. A financing statement may be filed before a security agreement is made or a security agreement otherwise attaches. When the financing statement covers crops growing or to be grown, the statement must also contain a description of the real estate concerned" (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1983, ch. 26, par. 9-402(1))


"[a] financing statement substantially complying with the requirements of this Section is effective even though it contains minor errors which are not seriously misleading." ...

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