Swift & Co. v. Columbia Ry., Gas & Electric Co., No. 2525.

CourtU.S. Court of Appeals — Fourth Circuit
Writing for the CourtWADDILL, ROSE, and PARKER, Circuit
Citation51 ALR 983,17 F.2d 46
Decision Date11 January 1927
Docket NumberNo. 2525.
PartiesSWIFT & CO. v. COLUMBIA RY., GAS & ELECTRIC CO.

51 ALR 983, 17 F.2d 46 (1927)

SWIFT & CO.
v.
COLUMBIA RY., GAS & ELECTRIC CO.

No. 2525.

Circuit Court of Appeals, Fourth Circuit.

January 11, 1927.


D. W. Robinson, of Columbia, S. C. (D. W. Robinson, Jr., of Columbia, S. C., on the brief), for plaintiff in error.

J. B. S. Lyles, of Columbia, S. C., for defendant in error.

Before WADDILL, ROSE, and PARKER, Circuit Judges.

PARKER, Circuit Judge.

The Columbia Railway, Gas & Electric Company, a public service corporation of Columbia, S. C., was plaintiff in the District Court, and Swift & Co., a corporation of Illinois, was defendant, and they will be referred to here in accordance with their positions in that court.

Plaintiff filed complaint, seeking recovery on two causes of action — the first, for $2,298.40, balance alleged to be due on the minimum amount which defendant had agreed to pay for electric current to be furnished for the operation of its cotton seed oil mill, fertilizer plant, and ginnery during the season of 1922-23; the second, for $1,731.30, alleged to be due for electric current furnished during March, 1925. Defendant filed answer, admitting the execution of the contract sued on in the first cause of action, but denying liability on the ground that it was not obligated to pay the minimum amount fixed by the contract in case it should be prevented from receiving and using power of that value as the result of any cause reasonably beyond its control and not attributable to its neglect, and that it had been prevented

17 F.2d 47
from using power of that value as a result of the shortage of the cotton crop, which in turn was due to bad weather conditions and the prevalence of the boll weevil. The second cause of action was admitted upon the trial, and no question is presented with respect thereto

In its answer defendant asserted a counterclaim for the sum of $5,438.70, which amount it averred that plaintiff had collected from it for power furnished between September, 1923, and June, 1924, over and above the amount which plaintiff was lawfully entitled to charge. Plaintiff replied, denying the allegations of the counterclaim, and upon the issues raised by the pleadings a trial was had before the District Judge and a jury. At the conclusion of the testimony, plaintiff prayed the direction of a verdict on both of its causes of action and on the counterclaim of defendant, and defendant prayed the direction of a verdict on its counterclaim.

The court granted the motion of plaintiff, and this ruling is the basis of defendant's assignments of error. Two questions are raised by them: (1) Whether there was error in the direction of verdict for plaintiff as to its first cause of action; and (2) whether there was error in the direction of verdict against defendant as to its counterclaim.

The facts with respect to the first cause of action are that plaintiff is engaged in the production and sale of electric current for lighting and power purposes in the state of South Carolina, and the defendant is engaged in operating a cotton seed oil mill, fertilizer plant, and cotton ginnery at Columbia in that state. In the year 1916, plaintiff entered into a five-year contract with defendant, which was extended from year to year, so as to include the season of 1922-23, by the terms of which plaintiff agreed to furnish and deliver to defendant during its operating season, from October to May of each year, electric power for the purposes of defendant's business to the maximum demand of 700 horse power (being the equivalent of 522 kilowatts), and the defendant agreed to pay therefor at the rate of one cent per kilowatt hour with the following proviso:

"Provided, however, that the minimum annual payment under this contract shall be ten thousand ($10,000) dollars, whether power of that value actually consumed or not; said minimum payment being in consideration of the investment of the company for the electric power set aside and maintained in readiness to serve the consumer."

The contract also contained the following provision, which is the one material to this part of the controversy, viz.:

"Tenth. In the event the company shall be wholly or partially prevented from delivering the electric power contracted for herein, or in case the service thereof shall be interrupted, or in case the consumer shall be prevented from receiving, using, and applying the same, by reason of or through strikes, stoppage of labor, riot, fire, flood, invasion, insurrection, accident, the order of any court, judge, or civil authority, the act of God, or any cause reasonably beyond its control and not attributable to its neglect, then and in such event the company shall not be obligated to deliver said electric power hereunder during such period, and shall not be liable for any damage or loss resulting from such interruption or suspension, and the consumer shall not be obligated or liable to pay for such power not delivered, furnished, or supplied during such period; and in any and all such event or events the party suffering such interruption or suspension shall be prompt and diligent in removing the cause thereof, and either party whose plant shall suspend operation by reason of accident to its machinery, plant or system, shall proceed at once to repair the same within a reasonable time, and, failing to do so, the limit of or exemption from liability as fixed in this paragraph shall not apply, and the party so failing shall be liable to the other as though no such limit or exemption had been fixed."

For the season of 1922-23, defendant used and paid for...

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16 practice notes
  • Hartman v. Merged Area VI Community College, No. 2-60731
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Iowa
    • October 18, 1978
    ...phrase includes "any." See, e. g., In re Bush Terminal Co., 93 F.2d 659, 660 (2d Cir. 1938) (dicta); Swift & Co. v. Columbia Ry., etc., 17 F.2d 46, 47 (4th Cir. 1927) (applying rule to phrase in contract); Powell v. Allan, 70 Cal.App. 663, 675, 234 P. 339, 344 (1925); Dowd v. Sullivan, 217 ......
  • City of High Point v. Duke Power Co.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 4th Circuit. Middle District of North Carolina
    • August 9, 1940
    ...427; Piedmont Power & Light Co. v. L. Banks Holt Mfg. Co., 183 N.C. 327, 111 S.E. 623; Swift & Co. v. Columbia Ry. Gas & Electric, 4 Cir., 17 F.2d 46, 51 A.L.R. 983. The latter case is almost identical with the case here under There is no evidence here of duress or compulsion and it is perf......
  • United States v. City and County of San Francisco, No. 4173-R.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 9th Circuit. United States District Courts. 9th Circuit. Northern District of California
    • April 11, 1938
    ...product whether it is accepted or used is normally found in a contract of sale. Swift & Co. v. Columbia, etc., Electric Co., 4 Cir., 1927, 17 F.2d 46, 51 A.L.R. 983, in which there was a duty to pay for electricity under a sale contract; no question of agency was involved. In re Sachs, D.C.......
  • Consumer Fin. Prot. Bureau v. Klopp, No. 18-1694
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (4th Circuit)
    • April 27, 2020
    ...at the end of a list refers to items of the same class as the specific terms. See Swift & Co. v. Columbia Railway, Gas & Electric Co. , 17 F.2d 46, 48 (4th Cir. 1927) ; 11 Williston on Contracts § 32:10 (4th ed.). When we apply this rule to the list of prohibited activities, "contacting, so......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
16 cases
  • Hartman v. Merged Area VI Community College, No. 2-60731
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Iowa
    • October 18, 1978
    ...phrase includes "any." See, e. g., In re Bush Terminal Co., 93 F.2d 659, 660 (2d Cir. 1938) (dicta); Swift & Co. v. Columbia Ry., etc., 17 F.2d 46, 47 (4th Cir. 1927) (applying rule to phrase in contract); Powell v. Allan, 70 Cal.App. 663, 675, 234 P. 339, 344 (1925); Dowd v. Sullivan, 217 ......
  • City of High Point v. Duke Power Co.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 4th Circuit. Middle District of North Carolina
    • August 9, 1940
    ...427; Piedmont Power & Light Co. v. L. Banks Holt Mfg. Co., 183 N.C. 327, 111 S.E. 623; Swift & Co. v. Columbia Ry. Gas & Electric, 4 Cir., 17 F.2d 46, 51 A.L.R. 983. The latter case is almost identical with the case here under There is no evidence here of duress or compulsion and it is perf......
  • United States v. City and County of San Francisco, No. 4173-R.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 9th Circuit. United States District Courts. 9th Circuit. Northern District of California
    • April 11, 1938
    ...product whether it is accepted or used is normally found in a contract of sale. Swift & Co. v. Columbia, etc., Electric Co., 4 Cir., 1927, 17 F.2d 46, 51 A.L.R. 983, in which there was a duty to pay for electricity under a sale contract; no question of agency was involved. In re Sachs, D.C.......
  • Consumer Fin. Prot. Bureau v. Klopp, No. 18-1694
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (4th Circuit)
    • April 27, 2020
    ...at the end of a list refers to items of the same class as the specific terms. See Swift & Co. v. Columbia Railway, Gas & Electric Co. , 17 F.2d 46, 48 (4th Cir. 1927) ; 11 Williston on Contracts § 32:10 (4th ed.). When we apply this rule to the list of prohibited activities, "contacting, so......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

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