Rights and duties of certain secondary obligors.
(a) A secondary obligor acquires the rights and becomes obligated to perform the duties of the secured party after the secondary obligor:
(1) receives an assignment of a secured obligation from the secured party;
(2) receives a transfer of collateral from the secured party and agrees to accept the rights and assume the duties of the secured party; or
(3) is subrogated to the rights of a secured party with respect to collateral.
(b) An assignment, transfer, or subrogation described in subsection (a):
(1) is not a disposition of collateral under section 9-610; and
(2) relieves the secured party of further duties under this article.
Source:Laws 1999, LB 550, § 193.
1. Source. Former section 9-504(5).
2. Scope of This Section. Under this section, assignments of secured obligations and other transactions (regardless of form) that function like assignments of secured obligations are not dispositions to which part 6 applies. Rather, they constitute assignments of rights and (occasionally) delegations of duties. Application of this section may require an investigation into the agreement of the parties, which may not be reflected in the words of the repurchase agreement (e.g., when the agreement requires a recourse party to "purchase the collateral" but contemplates that the purchaser will then conduct an article 9 foreclosure disposition).
This section, like former section 9-504(5), does not constitute a general and comprehensive rule for allocating rights and duties upon assignment of a secured obligation. Rather, it applies only in situations involving a secondary obligor described in subsection (a). In other contexts, the agreement of the parties and applicable law other than article 9 determine whether the assignment imposes upon the assignee any duty to the debtor and whether the assignor retains its duties to the debtor after the assignment.
Subsection (a)(1) applies when there has been an assignment of an obligation that is secured at the time it is assigned. Thus, if a secondary obligor acquires the collateral at a disposition under section 9-610 and simultaneously or subsequently discharges the unsecured deficiency claim, subsection (a)(1) is not implicated. Similarly, subsection (a)(3) applies only when the secondary obligor is subrogated to the secured party's rights with respect to collateral. Thus, this subsection will not be implicated if a secondary obligor discharges the debtor's unsecured obligation for a post-disposition deficiency. Similarly, if the secured party disposes of some of the collateral and the secondary obligor thereafter discharges the remaining obligation, subsection (a) applies only with respect to rights and duties concerning the remaining collateral, and, under subsection (b), the subrogation is not a disposition of the remaining collateral.
As discussed more fully in comment 3, a secondary obligor may receive a transfer of collateral in a disposition under section 9-610 in exchange for a payment that is applied against the secured obligation. However, a secondary obligor who pays and receives a transfer of collateral does not necessarily become subrogated to the rights of the secured party as contemplated by subsection (a)(3). Only to the extent the secondary obligor makes a payment in satisfaction of its secondary obligation would it become subrogated. To the extent its payment constitutes the price of the collateral in a section 9-610 disposition by the secured party, the secondary obligor would not be subrogated. Thus, if the amount paid by the secondary obligor for the collateral in a section 9-610 disposition is itself insufficient to discharge the secured obligation, but the secondary obligor makes an additional payment that satisfies the remaining balance, the secondary obligor would be subrogated to the secured party's deficiency claim. However, the duties of the secured party as such would have come to an end with respect to that collateral. In some situations the capacity in which the payment is made may be unclear. Accordingly, the parties should in their relationship provide clear evidence of the nature and circumstances of the payment by the secondary obligor.
3. Transfer of Collateral to Secondary Obligor. It is possible for a secured party to transfer collateral to a secondary obligor in a transaction that is a disposition under section 9-610 and that establishes a surplus or deficiency under section 9-615. Indeed, this article includes a special rule, in section 9-615(f), for establishing a deficiency in the case of some dispositions to, inter alia, secondary obligors. This article rejects the view, which some may have ascribed to former section 9-504(5), that a transfer of collateral to a recourse party can never constitute a disposition of collateral which discharges a security interest. Inasmuch as a secured party could itself buy collateral at its own public sale, it makes no sense to prohibit a recourse party ever from buying at the sale.
4. Timing and Scope of Obligations. Under subsection (a), a recourse party acquires rights and incurs obligations only "after" one of the specified circumstances occurs. This makes clear that when a successor assignee, transferee, or subrogee becomes obligated it does not assume any liability for earlier actions or inactions of the secured party whom it has succeeded unless it agrees to do so. Once the successor becomes obligated, however, it is responsible for complying with the secured party's duties thereafter. For example, if the successor is in possession of collateral, then it has the duties specified in section 9-207.
Under subsection (b), the same event (assignment, transfer, or subrogation) that gives rise to rights to, and imposes obligations on, a successor relieves its predecessor of any further duties under this article. For example, if the security interest is enforced after the secured obligation is assigned, the assignee — but not the assignor — has the duty to comply with this part. Similarly, the assignment does not excuse the assignor from liability for failure to comply with duties that arose before the event or impose liability on the assignee for the assignor's failure to comply.