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Chemical Bank v. Rinden Professional Ass'n - 126 N.H. 688, 498 A.2d 706 (1985)

Rule:

When construing a statute, a court first looks to the plain meaning of the language.

Facts:

Defendant purchased a telephone system under a lease-purchase agreement from a third party. The third party then assigned its right to receive payments to plaintiff. Within the notice of assignment, which was signed by defendant, was clause that waived as to plaintiff any defenses defendant might have had against third parties. After a system malfunction, defendant refused to make payments and plaintiff sued. Both parties filed motions for summary judgment. After a hearing on defendant's motion, which was denied, plaintiff was awarded attorney's fees. The lower court granted plaintiff's motion and defendant appealed. The Court affirmed judgment in favor of the plaintiff.

Issue:

Did defendant validly waive its defenses against the plaintiff-assignee upon the assignment of its lease-purchase agreement? 

Answer:

Yes.

Conclusion:

The court held that waiver of defenses was valid since there was an agreement by defendant to waive defenses against plaintiff, the assignment was made for value, in good faith, without notice of a claim or defense, and the assignment was in writing and signed by defendant. The lower court's award of attorney's fees was not abuse of discretion, since defendant's insistence on a hearing on its summary judgment motion was unreasonable. 

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