This matter is submitted to the court for its determination upon the following agreed statement of facts:
1. On October 11, 1962 Babylon Auto Sales, Inc., as seller, sold to defendant Norman Stamper, as buyer under a retail installment contract (herein called the contract) a 1959 Thunderbird automobile, Serial No. H9YJ155215 (herein called the Thunderbird), which contract reserved a security interest to the seller pending full payment of the purchase price.
2. On October 11, 1962 Babylon Auto Sales, Inc. assigned the contract and its interest in the Thunderbird to plaintiff.
3. Stamper at that time resided with his wife and children at 206 Bayshore Road in North Babylon, within the Town of Babylon, Suffolk County, New York, and plaintiff therefore
perfected its reservation of title to the Thunderbird by filing the contract with the town clerk of Babylon on October 22, 1962.
4. Paragraph 9 of the contract required Stamper to keep the Thunderbird garaged principally in Suffolk County, where he resided at the time the contract was made. In accordance with this requirement Stamper on October 13, 1962 procured a certificate of registration for the Thunderbird under the New York Motor Vehicle Law, which he renewed on December 28, 1962.
5. On or about January 1, 1963 Stamper moved temporarily to Pennsauken, New Jersey, where he resided with a relative for two months. His family remained in Babylon. Stamper did not permanently change his residence to New Jersey until he moved with his family to Westville, New Jersey, on or about March 1, 1963, into premises which he leased.
6. Without plaintiff's knowledge or consent, Stamper on or about January 7, 1963 applied for and received from the New Jersey Division of Motor Vehicles a New Jersey certificate of ownership showing him as the owner of the Thunderbird and failing to reflect plaintiff's reservation of title. The certificate of ownership, issued by the Division on January 7, 1963 and covering the Thunderbird, bore the number 8352418 Z. The "Z" at the end of the number is the symbol used by the Division to indicate that a vehicle was previously registered in another state. This certificate was presented to defendant Sharp on January 18, 1963, when he purchased the Thunderbird from Stamper.
7. On or about January 18, 1963 Stamper, prior to his permanent removal from the State of New York and less than three weeks after his temporary removal to the State of New Jersey, sold the Thunderbird to Sharp, who purchased it without plaintiff's knowledge or consent and without knowledge of plaintiff's security interest.
8. Sharp thereafter applied for and received on January 18, 1963 a New Jersey certificate of ownership showing him
as the owner of the Thunderbird and failing to show plaintiff's reservation of a security interest.
9. Between January 18 and March 21, 1963 Sharp sold the Thunderbird to defendant Fitzgerald, who applied for and received from the Division of Motor Vehicles a New Jersey certificate of ownership showing him as the owner of the Thunderbird and defendant First County National Bank and Trust Company of Woodbury, New Jersey, as lien holder, and failing to reflect plaintiff's reservation of a security interest.
10. Stamper made the installment payments due under the contract until May 11, 1963.
11. Plaintiff did not learn until November 17, 1963 that Stamper had moved to New Jersey, and was not able to locate him until December 7, 1964. It did not learn that Fitzgerald was in possession of the Thunderbird until December 4, 1963. Plaintiff has made numerous vain efforts to serve a demand for possession on Fitzgerald, who has moved to and fro between New Jersey, Florida and now Pennsylvania. However, plaintiff has demanded payment from Sharp of the reasonable value of the Thunderbird, which demand has been refused.
12. Plaintiff on November 29, 1963 caused to be filed in the office of the Secretary of State of New Jersey a financing statement covering the Thunderbird.
13. Plaintiff has sustained damages as follows:
(a) As against Stamper, $1,829.82 plus late charges as provided in the contract (5% of each scheduled monthly installment delinquent for ten or more days), plus an attorney's fee of 15% of the above amount as provided in the contract, plus punitive damages.
(b) As against Sharp, $1,275 as the reasonable value of the Thunderbird on the date it was bought and converted by him.
(c) As against Fitzgerald, $1,295 as the reasonable value of the Thunderbird on the date it was bought and converted by him.
14. Sharp did not have actual knowledge of the security interest of plaintiff in the Thunderbird at the time he purchased the car ...