60 F.2d 389 (8th Cir. 1932), 9394, Gunter v. Standard Oil Co.

Docket Nº:9394.
Citation:60 F.2d 389
Case Date:July 06, 1932
Court:United States Courts of Appeals, Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit

Page 389

60 F.2d 389 (8th Cir. 1932)




No. 9394.

United States Court of Appeals, Eighth Circuit.

July 6, 1932

Page 390

Appeal from the District Court of the United States for the Western District of Missouri; Albert L. Reeves, Judge.

C. A. Randolph, of Kansas City, Mo. (Edmund H. McVey, Roy W. Rucker, Lester G. Seacat, and McVey, Freet & Randolph, all of Kansas City, Mo., on the brief), for appellant.

R. R. Brewster, Jr., of Kansas City, Mo. (R. R. Brewster and W. B. Bostian, both of Kansas City, Mo., on the brief), for appellee.

Before GARDNER, SANBORN and BOOTH, Circuit Judges.

BOOTH, Circuit Judge.

This is an appeal from a judgment on the pleadings.

Appellant (plaintiff below) sued appellee for damages for breach of an alleged oral contract for employment.

The complaint alleges that on or about March 17, 1923, plaintiff, while in the employ of defendant, met with an accident due to the alleged negligence of the defendant, and suffered personal injury to one of his hands; that he made claim against defendant for damages.

'That thereafter and on or about the 31st day of May, 1923, the plaintiff and the defendant entered into an oral agreement and contract whereby the defendant agreed to hire and employ the plaintiff during the rest and remainder of his life as a stillman helper for the defendant in its said refinery at a wage of Eight and 62/100 Dollars ($8.62) per day, and the plaintiff agreed as a consideration for the defendant's employing him at said wage during the rest and remainder of his life to execute to the defendant a final release and discharge of any and all liability of the defendant to the plaintiff, arising out of and based upon the injuries so received and sustained by the plaintiff aforesaid.

'That in keeping with said contract and agreement, and as a consideration for his employment for life aforesaid, the plaintiff on or about said date executed to the defendant a final release and discharge of all claims which he had or might have against the defendant for or on account of said injuries so sustained by him.'

The complaint further alleges that plaintiff entered upon and continued in the discharge of his duties pursuant to said contract until August 4, 1924, when defendant, in violation of the contract, discharged him and refused further to continue him in its employ; that plaintiff suffered damages by the breach of contract.

The answer admits the original employment, the accident and the injury to plaintiff, and alleges that thereafter plaintiff and defendant entered into a written contract by the terms of which plaintiff accepted $200 in full settlement and satisfaction of all claims and demands, including any and all claims for damages arising out of said accident and the injuries sustained by the plaintiff; that defendant paid plaintiff the sum of $200 as agreed; that the written contract was the only settlement or agreement made between the plaintiff and defendant; and that it was intended and understood by all the parties to be and was a full and complete settlement of all claims of the plaintiff against the defendant by reason of the accident and injuries complained of. The answer further alleges that by reason of this written contract of settlement and the payment of the consideration by the defendant to the plaintiff, the plaintiff is estopped to set up any further promise, agreement, or consideration than that set out in the contract.

Attached to the answer is a copy of the instrument of release. It reads as follows:

'Settlement for Injuries

'Do not sign without understanding

'Received of The Standard Oil Company, an Indiana Corporation, the sum of Two Hundred & no/100 Dollars ($200.00) in full settlement and satisfaction of all claims and demands whatsoever to date hereof, including any and all claims for damages arising out of accidental injuries sustained by me at the Plant of said Standard Oil Company, on or about the 17th day of March, 1923. This release being intended to cover all claims for damages on account of said injuries, or the results or consequences flowing therefrom.

'In Witness Whereof, I have hereunto set my hand and seal at Sugar Creek, State of Missouri, this 31st day of May, 1923.

'[Signed] Sam. J. Gunter [Seal.].'

Plaintiff in his reply alleges: 'That the execution of said paper [the instrument of release] was but a part of the entire oral agreement and was one of the considerations for the making of the oral agreement herein sued upon, and he alleges that said oral agreement was one of the considerations for

Page 391

signing said paper and reiterates the allegations of his petition.'

Defendant's motion for judgment on the pleadings was granted; and from the judgment entered, the present appeal was taken.

One of the main contentions of appellant is that the court erred in holding that the written instrument of release precluded proof of the alleged oral contract. Reliance is placed by appellant upon section 954, Revised Statutes of Missouri 1929 (Mo. St. Ann. § 954), which reads as follows: 'Whenever a specialty or other written contract for the payment of money, or the delivery of property, or for the performance of a duty, shall be the foundation of an action or defense in whole or in part, or shall be given in evidence in any court without...

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