837 F.2d 155 (4th Cir. 1988), 87-2580, Higgins v. Scherr

Docket Nº:87-2580.
Citation:837 F.2d 155
Party Name:Milton P. HIGGINS, III, Plaintiff-Appellant, v. Nathan SCHERR, Defendant-Appellee.
Case Date:January 12, 1988
Court:United States Courts of Appeals, Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit

Page 155

837 F.2d 155 (4th Cir. 1988)

Milton P. HIGGINS, III, Plaintiff-Appellant,


Nathan SCHERR, Defendant-Appellee.

No. 87-2580.

United States Court of Appeals, Fourth Circuit

January 12, 1988

Argued Nov. 4, 1987.

Page 156

Geoffrey Robert Garinther (James L. Shea, Venable, Baetjer & Howard, Baltimore, Md., on brief), for plaintiff-appellant.

Curtis C. Coon (Stuart Levine, Rachel E. Zelkind, Burke, Gerber, Wilen & Francomano, Baltimore, Md., on brief), for defendant-appellee.

Before HALL and MURNAGHAN, Circuit Judges, and KAUFMAN, Senior United States District Judge for the District of Maryland, sitting by designation.

MURNAGHAN, Circuit Judge:

The factual antecedents of the present case began with a long friendship or acquaintanceship between the plaintiff, Milton P. Higgins, III, and the defendant, Nathan Scherr. Scherr enjoyed the good fortune of being the owner of the horse, Aloma's Ruler, which won the 1982 Preakness at Pimlico Race Track in Baltimore. Higgins, claiming he had provided services to Scherr, filed an action for breach of contract, for quantum meruit, and on a promissory estoppel theory. Higgins alleged that over several years he had provided assistance to Scherr (a) in syndication of the Preakness winner at stud, (b) in the purchase of horses, 1 and (c) in the seeking and investigation of a desirable site for purchase by Scherr of a farm to be used for horse breeding and training purposes. Higgins further alleged that Scherr and he had entered an understanding that Higgins would be compensated for his services. Upon Scherr's refusal to provide such compensation, suit was filed.

The district court 2 concentrated only on the services relating to the purchase of a horse farm 3 and granted full summary judgment in favor of Scherr. In this respect, we conclude it was in error. Complaints are liberally construed under Fed.R.Civ.P. 8(f). Beacon Theatres, Inc. v. Westover, 359 U.S. 500, 79 S.Ct. 948, 3 L.Ed.2d 988 (1959). "A pleading which sets forth a claim for relief ... shall contain ... (2) a short and plain statement of the claim showing that the pleader is entitled to relief." Fed.R.Civ.P. 8(a). A complaint need not state with precision all elements that give rise to a legal basis for recovery as long as fair notice of the nature of the action is provided. Cf. Wolman v. Tose, 467 F.2d 29 (4th Cir.1972). The case came up on an...

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