garded as the sole and conditional owner of the goods. In those cases it appears that W. H. Houseman was managing a store for the plaintiff; that the plaintiff furnished the money to purchase the merchandise; that the business was conducted in the name of the plaintiff, and the only interest W. H. Houseman had therein was a verbal option from the plaintiff to purchase the property at a certain price, which option he had never exercised. See pages 211 (88 S. E. 1051) and 592 (89 S. E. 271). The court correctly held that plaintiff's sole and unconditional ownership of the property was not affected by the option. That was all which was necessary or pertinent to the decision on that point. The holding that a "conditional contract of sale of personal property by an insured, with reservation of title until payment of the purchase money, although possession is transferred to the vendee, will constitute a breach of the condition of the policy requiring `sole and unconditional ownership' " (78 W. Va. 203, S8 S. E. 1048), was entirely gratuitous, was mere dictum, and cannot bind subsequent decisions.
Under the contracts herein. Cook held the equitable beneficial title to the fixtures. Their destruction does not relieve him from payment of balance due the sellers. His interest, therefore, meets the test established by the former decisions of this court, and the fact that he did not hold the naked legal title did not violate the condition of sole and unconditional ownership.
The judgment of the circuit court is accordingly affirmed. Affirmed."
WESTERN ASSUR. CO. v. WHITE.
Supreme Court of Arkansas, 1926.
171 Ark. 733, 286 S. W. 804, 48 A. L. R. 349.
Action by F. O. White against the Western Assurance Company. Judgment for plaintiff, and defendant appeals. Reversed and remanded.
SMITH, J. The appellant insurance company issued to appellee individually a policy of insurance on a building owned by appellee
'I See comments on this case (1929) 13 Minn. L. Rev. 735, 27 Mich. L. Rev. 820, (1928) 7 N. Car. L. Rev. 79, and see the Notes, 61 A. L. R. 66, 60 A. L. R. 11, and 38 A. L. R. 200.
In Virginia Fire &c. Ins. Co. v. Lennon (1924) 140 Va. 766, 125 S. E. 801, 38 A. L. R. 186, the court in taking a view contrary to the principal case said, "The great weight of authority is to the effect that the vendee under such conditional sales contracts is not the sole and unconditional owner within the meaning of the condition of an insurance policy that it shall he void if the ownership of the insured be other than unconditional and sole. * * *
"A distinction is to be observed, and very properly, between those cases when title is reserved in the vendor until the purchase price is paid in full and cases where title passes and a lien is retained for the purchase price." What is the