Thursday, December 10, 2015

Husemans Usually Win Big Cases

Most people have probably googled their own name at some point. But I took it one step further. I did a nationwide Lexis search for published court opinions involving Husemans. It turns out that three Husemans have had their cases heard before state supreme courts, two in Illinois and one in Indiana. 

We're two out of three and we're on a hot streak considering that we won the last two. It has been a while though ... our last victory before the Illinois Supreme Court came in 1914.

Here are the three cases:

Huseman v. Sims, Supreme Court of Indiana, December 30, 1885: 

This case originated out of Dearborn County, Indiana. Mr. Huseman (his first name was not identified), due to unfortunate circumstances that were probably outside of his control but which were not explained in the court's ruling, had apparently fallen behind on his rent. His landlord obtained a judgment against him for $1,059.25. Mr. Sims was the county sheriff. At the instruction of the landlord, Mr. Sims, as sheriff, seized Mr. Huseman's property in order to sell it and pay off the judgment. 

Mr. Huseman contended that the seized property was exempt from execution, so he sued the sheriff. Huseman lost at trial and then appealed. The Indiana Supreme Court found that Mr. Huseman did not properly raise his exemptions at trial, so the sheriff's execution was proper. 

Huseman loses on a technicality. 

Sassenberg v. Huseman, Supreme Court of Illinois, October 16, 1899:

This case originated out of Bureau County, Illinois. The Sassenbergs were the heirs of a man who had once owned a farm in Bureau County consisting of 120 acres. John and Anna Huseman claimed to be the rightful owners of the farm, having purchased it prior to the decedent's passing. The Sassenbergs challenged the Husemans' deed as a forgery and attempted to acquire title to the farm. 

The trial court believed that the Husemans were honest people who had legally acquired the farm. The Strassbergs appealed. The Illinois Supreme Court found that the witnesses who testified at trial were credible, including the decedent's daughter who witnessed the execution of the deed and the notary public. 

The Supreme Court affirmed that the Husemans were honest, trustworthy people. Big win for the Husemans, not that it was ever really in doubt.

Bruns v. Huseman, Supreme Court of Illinois, December 16, 1914:

This case originated out of Whiteside County, Illinois. Anna Mary Huseman, who was 80 years old at the time, owned a farm consisting of 157 acres. Ms. Huseman verbally authorized a man named Vernon C. Freeman to sell her farm. Mr. Freeman allegedly sold the farm to Mr. Bruns for $8,500 and took $500 down. Mr. Freeman presented a deed to Ms. Huseman, which she signed, but it was never delivered to Mr. Bruns or recorded with the county. Mr. Bruns sued Ms. Huseman for specific performance in order to force the sale of the farm for the remaining $8,000. Testimony at trial indicated that the farm may have been worth up to $125 per acre, or $19,625. Ms. Huseman resisted the specific performance of the alleged contract due to an allegedly fraudulent scheme between Mr. Freeman and Mr. Bruns to obtain title to the farm for a grossly inadequate price.

The trial court ruled that an agent's authority to bind the owner to a sale of real estate must be in writing pursuant to the statute of frauds. Therefore, Mr. Freeman did not have authority to sell the farm for $8,500. The Supreme Court affirmed.

Another big win for the Huseman family. Hopefully we can keep the streak alive if we find ourselves before the Supreme Court again. 

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