138 S.E. 888 (S.C. 1927), 12242, Chandler v. People's Nat. Bank of Greenville

Docket Nº:12242.
Citation:138 S.E. 888, 140 S.C. 433
Opinion Judge:BLEASE, J.
Attorney:J. M. Richardson and W. B. McGowan, both of Greenville, for appellant. E. M. Blythe, of Greenville, for respondent.
Judge Panel:CARTER, J., did not participate.
Case Date:August 02, 1927
Court:Supreme Court of South Carolina

Page 888

138 S.E. 888 (S.C. 1927)

140 S.C. 433




No. 12242.

Supreme Court of South Carolina

August 2, 1927

Appeal from Common Pleas Circuit Court of Greenville County; M. F. Ansel, Judge.

Action by W. A. Chandler against the People's National Bank of Greenville, S. C., as executrix of the estate of C. F. Dill, deceased. Judgment for defendant, and plaintiff appeals. Reversed, and cause remanded for new trial.

J. M. Richardson and W. B. McGowan, both of Greenville, for appellant.

E. M. Blythe, of Greenville, for respondent.


This suit was tried in the county court of Greenville county, with Hon. M. F. Ansel, county judge, presiding, and resulted in a verdict for the defendant. The plaintiff seeks here a new trial.

The action was on an alleged parol contract, to which there was no witness save the plaintiff and the president of the defendant bank. The allegations of the complaint, necessary for an understanding of the issues in this court, are to the following effect: The defendant bank, of which Mr. W. C. Beacham is president, is the executor of the will of C. F. Dill, deceased. The estate owned the "Skelton building," in the city of Greenville. The executor had power, under the will, to sell and convey the real estate. Plaintiff is a real estate broker, and defendant engaged him to sell [140 S.C. 436] the real estate mentioned at the price of $70,000, upon the agreement that plaintiff was to receive 2 1/2 per cent. of the sale price as commissions for his services. The building was sold at the price stated, but defendant declined to pay the commissions.

The defendant's answer, except as to formal matters, was a general denial.

The presiding judge refused defendant's motion for a nonsuit and for a directed verdict. In a brief, but clear, charge, which correctly stated the law of the case, he submitted to the jury the only two issues in the cause, which, in our language, were as follows: (1) Was there a contract, as alleged by the plaintiff, between the parties? (2) Was the plaintiff, as broker, during the continuance of his agency, the efficient or procuring cause of the sale made by the defendant to the purchaser? There is no appeal from the charge.

The main controversy in the case was the question whether the plaintiff's version of the contract was true, that he was employed as a broker to sell the property to some third party for $70,000 and should receive a commission of 2 1/2 per cent. for his services, or whether Beacham's version of it was true, that the property was offered to the plaintiff, as a purchaser, at $70,000, and that if he bought he would be allowed a discount, or

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"allowance," as it was termed by Beacham, of 2 1/2 per cent. The plaintiff testified positively to his version, and what is quite material to the present inquiry, that when he opened negotiations with Beacham, the latter stated to him that he had listed the property with several other brokers upon exactly the same terms as he proposed and agreed to list it with the plaintiff: $70,000, one-fourth cash, balance on easy terms, and 2 1/2 per cent. commissions to the broker making the sale.

Beacham testified, with equal positiveness, that he had never engaged the plaintiff as broker to sell the property, but made the same arrangement with him that he had made with [140 S.C. 437] several other real estate brokers, that he would sell the property to them (severally) at $70,000, and allow a deduction of 2 1/2 per cent. The testimony pertinent to the present inquiry is that he had made the same contract with the other brokers as he made with the plaintiff.

It thus appears, we think without controversy, that the contract with the plaintiff, whatever it was, is conceded to have been in the identical terms of the contracts made severally with the other real estate brokers with whom Beacham listed the property, and the question is whether the testimony of these other real estate brokers as to what were the terms of their contracts with Beacham has any probative value in determining the vital issues in the case as to what were the terms of the contract between the plaintiff and Beacham.

The exceptions of the appellant, only two in number, charge error in the exclusion of testimony offered by him in presenting his case in chief.

The first exception relates to proffered testimony on the part of two witnesses, Mr. A. H. Pyron and Mr. W. T. Henderson. When Mr. Pyron, a real estate broker, was on the stand, he was asked for plaintiff if Mr. Beacham offered the Skelton building for sale through him. There was objection on the part...

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