Saturday, May 10, 2008

Building supplier sued widow of deceased construction company owner for over $1 million of defaulted construction loans that the defendant and her husband had guaranteed. The Douglas County District Court after cross-motions for summary judgment dismissed the bank's complaint. Nebraska Supreme Court reverses, awarding full judgment to the plaintiff. The Supreme Court finds the widow did not limit her liability to $525000 in their company's financing agreement with the Plaintiff, and further the plaintiff's releasing deeds of trust on the defendant's office buildings in 1991 did not impair the widow's collateral because she allowed new substantial loans with other banks to encumber the same property. Builders Supply Co. v. Czerwinski, S-06-1138, 275 Neb. 622We recognize that the A greement contains language relative to the $525,000 upon which Czerwinski relies. However, aguaranty is an independent contract that imposes responsibilities different from those imposed in an agreement to which it is collateral. S ee National Bank of Commerce Trust & Sav. Assn. v. Katleman, 201 Neb. 165, 266 N.W.2d 736 (1978). It is the guaranty agreement that contains the express condition on the guarantor’s liability and that defines the obligations and rights of both guarantor and guarantee. Id. T he language relied upon by Czerwinski in the A greement relative to the $525,000 merely described B uilders’ obligation to extend credit to B enchmark to a specific amount.the record indicates that she signed deeds of trust on the office building in 1999 and 2000 for $100,000 and $600,000 respectively, suggesting that she was aware of the availability of the office building to serve as collateral in a substantial amount. T he $600,000 encumbrance remained into 2006, the inference from which is that through her actions, Czerwinski impaired the office building collateral rather than B uilders

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