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Hamilton County Appeals.

and found upon the evidence that the allegations of her second amended petition were true, and that she was entitled to have the contract performed by the defendant and its provisions enforced against him, and that she was entitled to have a reconveyance of all the property mentioned in said contract, imposed by him, excepting the mortgage to the University of Wooster free from all, encumbrances, upon the payment by her of such sums with interest as had been advanced by defendant upon her account under said contract; and for the purpose of stating an account showing the amount so due from plaintiff to defendant the court appointed Murry M. Shoemaker as a master commissioner with all the power of a referee, to take such an account and to ascertain and report to the court the amount so due to the defendant.

The first proceeding in error, No. 304, seeks to set aside this judgment as being erroneous and invalid, and questions the power of the court to appoint a master commissioner as therein provided.

The cause is one in equity, being a suit to construe and enforce a contract and for an accounting thereunder, for a decree for the reconveyance of land and for general relief. These are all matters triable to a court and not to a jury, and come within the provisions of Sec. 11490 G. C. Under this section reference to a master commissioner is discretionary with the court, and in this case the court has in no way abused its discretion.

The second proceeding in error, No. 461, was brought for the purpose of reviewing the final judgment and decree of the superior court which was entered in said case upon the report and finding of the master commissioner and referee appointed therein and which fixed the amount ordered paid by the plaintiff to the defendant in full satisfaction of all amounts advanced and paid by him under said contract, and provided that upon such payment by the plaintiff said defendant should reconvey all of said real estate free and clear of all incumbrances.

In this proceeding in error a complete bill of exceptions was filed, but the original pleadings and papers having been

Krippendorf v. Ormsby.

filed in the first case, No. 304, were not refiled herein out only such papers as had been filed in the lower court subsequent to the original proceeding in error. And the transcript of the docket and journal entries in the lower court filed in this second case included only those subsequent to February 2, 1914, being a continuation of the transcript filed in case No. 304. As each of these proceedings in error is technically distinct from the other, there might be a question as to the power of the court to consider one case as merely a supplement of the other, but as the main question involved is the same in both cases, they will be treated together and considered as one.

The third proceeding in error, No. 577, involves the right of a judgment debtor in a foreclosure suit to insist upon a sale under decree of foreclosure and order of sale, contrary to the wishes and right of the judgment creditor who is the owner of said judgment and mortgage.

A decree in foreclosure was taken upon the cross petition of the University of Wooster under its mortgage made to Otto Krippendorf upon Lot 49, part of the real estate involved in said contract, and an order for sale had been issued upon the precipe of the attorneys for the University of Wooster and the property was advertised thereunder for sale by the sheriff, whereupon George S. Ormsby the father of Helen M. Ormsby, for her protection and assistance purchased from the University of Wooster all its interests under said mortgage and judgment and recalled said order for sale.

Afterwards, Otto Krippendorf, the judgment debtor in said decree of foreclosure, without authority from or notice to said George S. Ormby or the University of Wooster filed a precipe for a second order of sale, which was issued by the clerk, and sale was advertised thereunder by the sheriff. Upon motion George S. Ormsby was made party defendant, and he made application to the court for an order to set aside and recall the second order of sale which had been issued at the instance of said defendant, Otto Krippendorf; which motion upon hearing the court granted, and made an order setting aside and recalling said second order of sale. Said defendant, Otto Krip

Hamilton County Appeals.

pendorf, also moved the court to require said George S. Ormsby to give security for costs, he being a nonresident of Hamilton county, Ohio. This motion was denied by the court on the ground that it appeared to the court that Ormsby was the owner of the mortgage and judgment interest in said real estate, which afforded ample security for costs. To this order the defendant Krippendorf also excepted.

The third proceeding in error was brought to secure a reversal of these two orders. In the opinion of this court the action of the court below upon both of said motions was both proper and legal. But neither of said orders is a final order which can be reviewed by proceedings in error by this court, and the petition in error in case No. 577 will therefore be dismissed at the costs of plaintiff in error.

The main question in the first and second proceedings in error is as to the correctness of the judgment below finding the equities in favor of the plaintiff.

The evidence shows that Mrs. Ormsby being the owner of a handsome dwelling on the lot known as No. 49 of the Foote subdivision, was in embarrassed cireumstances, a decree of foreclosure having been taken upon the mortgage on said property by the University of Wooster, and it was about to be sold to satisfy the judgment of such foreclosure; that other judgments had been taken against her for money; and the taxes on said property were unpaid. When in search of assistance towards the raising of money necessary to adjust her financial difficulties she met Otto Krippendorf who is an attorney at law and who agreed to act for her as such and to advance money necessary to prevent the sacrifice of her home. To effect this purpose it was agreed that Krippendorf would raise money to the amount of $7,500; that a oonveyance of said lot No. 49, together with three other lots, would be made to him by Mrs. Ormsby; and that out of the $7,500 he was to pay all tax claims on lot 49, the court costs and judgment in said foreclosure case brought by the University of Wooster, and certain improvements to the premises on lot 49; and the form of contract to this effect was drawn by said Krippendorf and executed by Mrs. Ormsby and

Krippendort v. Ormsby.

Krippendorf in the presence of two witnesses, and duly acknowledged by both of them before a notary public.

It appears from the evidence that by virtue of this contract, and a deed made at the same time as a part of the same transaction hy Mrs. Ormshy to Mr. Krippendorf, her title in said four lots was vested in Krippendorf who was then acting as her attorney and trustee under the terms of said contract. The sheriff's sale in the foreclosure case of the trustees of the University of Wooster was confirmed and a deed was executed by the sheriff conveying lot 49 to the trustees of the University of Wooster, who, carrying out an arrangement previously made with Mrs. Ormsby, received at the hands of Krippendorf sufficient money to pay the court costs and tax claim and to reduce their indebtedness from Mrs. Ormsby down to $5,000 for which Krippendorf executed a mortgage to them upon said lot 49.

By the terms of said contract Krippendorf agreed to reconvey to Mrs. Ormsby, upon the termination of said term of three years, to-wit, on May 6, 1912, the same interest in said four lots provided she pay to him in gold coin the principal sum of $5,000 and interest and $2,500 and interest, together with all incidental sums by way of taxes, assessments, interest on mortgages, charges for improvements or otherwise, and interest at 6 per cent per annum from the date of maturity. The contract further gave to Mrs. Ormsby during its existence a right to accelerate a reconveyance of said property providing she assume and take subject to the mortgage of $5,000 and all other claims and demands growing out of the contract.

A careful consideration of this contract in connection with the evidence given shows that its whole purpose, and the purpose of the conveyance made by Mrs. Ormsby to Krippendorf, was simply to furnish the means for securing money, which he agreed to raise and advance on her account. In other words, this so-called contract was in fact a mortgage. The conveyance was undoubtedly made to him by her and at her request by the trustees of the University of Wooster, for the purpose of vesting title in him as her trustee for her benefit and at the same

12 0. C. C. Vol. 36

Hamilton County Appeals.

time to secure him in the repayment of any money necessary to be advanced by him. Although the contract is drawn in ar involved and extremely vague way, it shows evidence of having been prepared either by a lawyer who was without sufficient experience to clearly state what was intended to be covered in it—to provide proper security for himself in advancing funds and at the same time protect the rights of his client who was to be the beneficiary of such advancement; or else it was the product of a crafty and unscrupulous lawyer, who, seeking to take advantage of a confiding client ignorant of such documents, at the end of her resources and eager to find a way out of her financial difficulties, created a document under which he might if occasion arose claim to be the absolute owner of the property and hold her to the exact time fixed for reconveyance under the strict letter of the contract in the manner of an historical Shylock.

The fact that Krippendorf failed in any way to report his expenditures to Mrs. Ormsby or to furnish to her an account of the amount of his advancements under the contract, and that he failed to keep the property rented or in repair, and the further fact that the value of the property has largely appreciated, taken in connection with his testimony as given in this case, places him in anything but a favorable attitude before the court. He had hardly signed the contract under which he appeared as the friend and benefactor of Mrs. Ormsby until he laid plans to repudiate it and his testimony indicates a constant effort on his part to retain for himself the property which he obtained as a trustee for a client, and, failing to hold it, to require her to pay the largest amount possible to him in excess of all advancements and interest.

There is no question but that this contract was drawn as a security for a loan or advancement to be made by Krippendorf on behalf of Mrs. Ormshy and, under the doctrine of the case of Wilson v. Giddings, 28 Ohio St. 554, it must be held to be a mortgage. As was said in the opinion of the court in that case, at page 565 :

There is no principle in equity more firmly settled on

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