Craig v. Columbus Compress & Warehouse Co., 44910

Decision Date20 May 1968
Docket NumberNo. 44910,44910
Citation210 So.2d 645
CourtMississippi Supreme Court
PartiesC. R. CRAIG v. COLUMBUS COMPRESS & WAREHOUSE COMPANY et al.

Burgin, Gholson & Hicks, Columbus, for appellant.

Odom, Odom & Pittman, Greenwood, Robin Weaver, Columbus, Bell & McBee, Greenwood, for appellee.

RODGERS, Justice.

This is a suit brought by the holder of warehouse receipts against the warehouses for the market value of 93 bales of cotton, 46 of which were stored with the Columbus Compress & Warehouse Company, a Mississippi corporation, and 47 of which were stored with the Union Compress & Warehouse Company, Greenwood, Mississippi, a Delaware corporation. The case was tried in the Chancery Court of Lowndes County, Mississippi, resulting in a decree in favor of the complainant for one bale of cotton. The complainant has appealed from this decree of the chancery court.

The facts as found by the Chancery Court of Lowndes County are not challenged on this appeal. That court found that C. E. Holmes, a cotton merchant of Greenwood, transferred 150 cotton warehouse receipts to R. H. Allen & Company of Memphis, Tennessee. Some of these receipts were issued by appellee Columbus Compress & Warehouse Company of Columbus, Mississippi, and the others were issued by appellee Union Compress & Warehouse Company in Greenwood, Mississippi. On July 3, 1962 C. R. Craig, the complainant below and appellant here, purchased from R. H. Allen & Company the 150 warehouse receipts. This purchase was the result of telephone calls received by Craig from C. E. Holmes, who arranged the purchase of the 150 bales of cotton evidenced by the warehouse receipts and told Craig that it would be a good buy.

Apparently Craig and Holmes entered into an agreement whereby Holmes would act as agent for Craig in the resale of the cotton, since on October 12, 1962 Craig transferred 19 bales of the cotton to Holmes. Subsequent transfers brought the total number of bales, each evidenced by one warehouse receipt, transferred by Holmes to Craig to 57, leaving 93 receipts in the possession of Craig. Thereafter Craig was advised to check with the appellees who had issued the warehouse receipts to determine the status of the receipts which he held. He requested appellee Union Compress & Warehouse Company for a resampling of the cotton remaining unsold, and also made a similar request of the Columbus Compress & Warehouse Company.

Upon making these requests, the complainant was advised by both appellees that duplicate receipts had been issued for the cotton, the original receipts of which Craig still held. Of the 93 which Craig still held, 46 were issued by Columbus Compress & Warehouse Company and 47 were issued by Union Compress & Warehouse Company in Greenwood.

The proof further shows that, except for one bale, all of the cotton represented by the warehouse receipts issued by Columbus Compress & Warehouse Company were sold to T. R. Gregory of Greenwood, Mississippi, as shown by Invoice No. 3522-80 dated December 9th, 1959 covering 55 bales of cotton, making a total of 169 bales sold to T. R. Gregory. Among these 169 bales were the 45 bales in question, all of the cotton in the Columbus Compress & Warehouse Company except the cotton represented by cotton warehouse receipt No. 57289, which bale of cotton weighed 352 pounds.

Mr. Gregory testified that he subsequently sold this cotton in the early part of 1960, and upon preparing the papers for shipment of the cotton discovered that certain of the cotton warehouse receipts were missing and thereupon executed a bond to the Columbus Compress & Warehouse Company in the amount of $24,000, as shown by Exhibit No. 13; the bond was dated February 18th, 1960. Upon receipt of this bond and upon checking with the Department of Agriculture, the president of Columbus Compress & Warehouse Company testified that the cotton was shipped to a point in Georgia. Mr. Gregory testified that he had not delivered the warehouse receipts to Mr. C. E. Holmes, that he had not authorized the delivery of warehouse receipts to Mr. C. E. Holmes, and that he had not authorized any person to execute a transfer or a negotiation of the cotton warehouse receipts that he was unable to locate. He testified that it was his habit to deposit the cotton warehouse receipts in the Bank of Greenwood at the close of each business day, and then on the following morning he would pick up his bag of receipts and take them to his office. In the course of buying and selling cotton, Mr. Gregory would change the receipts in the bag to cover any overdrafts and loans that he might have with the bank and would pledge the receipts that were in the bag each evening when the bag was delivered to the bank.

Mr. Buford of Buford Cotton Company testified that he purchased the cotton covered by the 47 cotton warehouse receipts issued by Union Compress & Warehouse Company, and that he likewise did business with the Bank of Greenwood, depositing cotton warehouse receipts each evening in the Bank of Greenwood and taking the receipts out the following morning for use in his business during the day. He likewise testified that he had not authorized the delivery of any of these receipts to C. E. Holmes, that he had not authorized any person to negotiate or transfer any of the 47 cotton warehouse receipts in question.

As for the bale of cotton represented by warehouse receipt No. 57289 issued by Columbus Compress & Warehouse Company, it was shown that a duplicate receipt had been issued to Sanders Cotton Company of Greenwood, Mississippi and that this receipt was subsequently sold to Anderson-Clayton Cotton Company. There was no testimony in the record and nothing in the pleadings to indicate whether or not this bale of cotton had been shipped from the warehouse or whether or not that bale of cotton was located in the warehouse at the time of the trial. It was the opinion of the trial court that the complainant, since there was no explanation of negotiation or transfer of the receipt covering this bale of cotton, was entitled to recover this particular bale of cotton upon surrender of warehouse receipt No. 57289.

It was the opinion of the trial court that the other 92 receipts were not transferred or negotiated to T. R. Gregory or Buford Cotton Company in the ordinary course of business, and that they had not authorized the transfer or negotiation of these receipts to C. E. Holmes or to any other person except the transfer that they authorized when the cotton was sold. Upon these findings of fact, the Chancery Court of Lowndes County rendered a decree in favor of the complainant for one...

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  • Shewbrooks v. A.C. and S., Inc., 56014
    • United States
    • Mississippi Supreme Court
    • May 11, 1988
    ...set forth the center of gravity test for resolution of state to state conflicts questions. Beginning with Craig v. Columbus Compress & Warehouse Co., 210 So.2d 645, 649 (Miss.1968) (contracts) and Mitchell v. Craft, 211 So.2d 509, 512 (Miss.1968) (torts), this state has embraced the center ......
  • McDaniel v. Ritter
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    • Mississippi Supreme Court
    • November 29, 1989
    ...events giving rise to the lawsuit and the parties involved. Defendants reassert the point on appeal. Since Craig v. Columbus Compress & Warehouse Co., 210 So.2d 645, 649 (Miss.1968) and Mitchell v. Craft, 211 So.2d 509 (Miss.1968), Mississippi has ascribed to the most significant relationsh......
  • Boardman v. United Services Auto. Ass'n
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    ...that function only. This we have done in large part by the adoption of the center of gravity test. See Craig v. Columbus Compress & Warehouse Co., 210 So.2d 645, 649 (Miss.1968); Mitchell v. Craft, 211 So.2d 509, 512 (Miss.1968). Restatement (Second) of Conflicts of Laws, Sec. 6, has long s......
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    ...law is to be applied in a choice of law problem, this Court adopted the "center of gravity" doctrine in Craig v. Columbus Compress & Warehouse Co., 210 So.2d 645 (Miss.1968). This "center of gravity doctrine" or, in other words, "the most significant relationship test" was the test we appli......
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