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Heritage Bank v. Kasson

Court of Appeals of Nebraska

September 23, 2014

HERITAGE BANK, A NEBRASKA BANKING CORPORATION, APPELLANT,
v.
JAMES A. KASSON AND ROBERTA JANE KASSON, HUSBAND AND WIFE, AND THOMAS F. KASSON, APPELLEES

Page 869

[Copyrighted Material Omitted]

Page 870

[Copyrighted Material Omitted]

Page 871

Appeal from the District Court for Howard County: KARIN L. NOAKES, Judge.

Kent E. Rauert and Matthew R. Watson, of Svehla, Thomas, Rauert & Grafton, P.C., for appellant.

Gregory G. Jensen, P.C., L.L.O., for appellees.

MOORE, PIRTLE, and RIEDMANN, Judges.

OPINION

Page 872

MOORE, PIRTLE, Judge.

[22 Neb.App. 402] INTRODUCTION

Heritage Bank appeals the order of the district court for Howard County finding James A. Kasson and Roberta Jane [22 Neb.App. 403] Kasson (the Kassons) did not breach their obligations to Heritage Bank under two promissory notes and did not operate a joint venture or partnership with their son, Thomas Kasson. The district court found that the Kassons were not jointly and severally liable for the financial debts and obligations of Thomas and that the Kassons were entitled to a monetary judgment from Heritage Bank. For the reasons that follow, we affirm.

BACKGROUND

Heritage Bank is a corporation organized and existing under the laws of the State of Nebraska. The Kassons are husband and wife, and both are residents of Howard County, Nebraska. Thomas is the son of the Kassons and is also a resident of Howard County.

The Kassons and Thomas each individually began banking with Heritage Bank in 2001. The Kassons and Thomas maintained separate financial statements, promissory notes, security agreements, and checking accounts. In the past, Heritage Bank has asked owners engaged in informal partnerships to cosign or guarantee each other's loans. The Kassons and Thomas were not asked to guarantee or cosign for each other's indebtedness to Heritage Bank in this case.

The Kassons and Thomas owned and operated separate farming and livestock operations, though they used the same business practices to buy and sell livestock, buy and sell grain, raise grain, harvest crops, lease pastures and cropland, and market their farm products. They shared some equipment and feed. They also helped each other with work responsibilities.

On or about May 7, 2009, the Kassons executed and delivered to Heritage Bank a promissory note representing a line of credit upon which Heritage Bank agreed to advance various sums, not to exceed $250,000 at any one time. The Kassons agreed to pay interest at a rate of 6.25 percent and to pay all principal and accrued interest on the note on its maturity date, April 1, 2010.

On or about May 7, 2009, the Kassons executed and delivered to Heritage Bank a second promissory note in the Decisions of the Nebraska Court of Appeals [22 Neb.App. 404] amount of $76,000 with interest at a rate of 6.25 percent per annum. The note required the Kassons to make four annual payments of $18,099.42 beginning April 1, 2010, and one payment of $18,099.44 on April 1, 2014.

Contemporaneously to the execution of both notes, the Kassons entered into two separate commercial security agreements granting Heritage Bank a security interest in certain property owned bye the Kassons. Both agreements granted Heritage Bank a security interest in " [a]ll farm products including, but not limited to, all poultry and livestock and their ...


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