Duncan v. Black, No. 7737

CourtCourt of Appeal of Missouri (US)
Writing for the CourtRUARK; STONE, P. J., and McDOWELL
Citation324 S.W.2d 483
PartiesE. M. DUNCAN, Plaintiff-Appellant, v. William BLACK and Mary Ellen Black, Defendants-Respondents.
Decision Date15 May 1959
Docket NumberNo. 7737

Page 483

324 S.W.2d 483
E. M. DUNCAN, Plaintiff-Appellant,
v.
William BLACK and Mary Ellen Black, Defendants-Respondents.
No. 7737.
Springfield Court of Appeals, Missouri.
May 15, 1959.

Page 484

Robert A. Dempster, Daniel S. Norton, Sikeston, for plaintiff-appellant.

Blanton & Blanton, Sikeston, for defendants-respondents.

RUARK, Judge.

This is a suit on a note, but the tentacles of the question reach into the mysteries of cotton acreage allotments. The plaintiff, now appellant, sued the defendants-respondents on a $1,500 note. The note was pleaded in conventional form. The answer was admission of execution but denial of consideration. At trial, which was without jury, the plaintiff offered his note and rested. The defendants, as was their burden, since the note imports a valid consideration, 1 then went forward with the evidence, and on the uncontradicted evidence the following facts were established.

Defendant William Black, who appears to have inherited considerable land from his father, sold some 359 acres of this land to the plaintiff. The contract, after referring to the description, consideration, and items not here concerned, announced in a separate paragraph, 'Party of the second part is to receive a 65 acre cotton allotment with the land he is purchasing from the party of the first part.' Deed was executed on December 29, 1954.

Now the land so sold did not 'carry' a 65-acre cotton allotment. When and as fixed by the county committee, the allotment was only 49.6 acres, and the parties undertook to make up the 15-plus-acre difference by using a part of the allotment allowed to Black's unsold land. The first crop year defendants 'made up that difference' out of their own cotton alloment. 2 The following year plaintiff came to defendants and requested that they 'do that again' (make up the difference). Defendant Black first assented, but later decided that he didn't cotton to this idea, backed out, and did not do it. Sometime prior to September 13, 1956, the date of the note, plaintiff came to Black and told him that he (plaintiff) had been or would be penalized for planting more cotton than his allotment called for. He said he had been advised by a lawyer that defendant owed him damages 'on the contract.' Black asked if the matter couldn't be 'settled,' and the transaction was settled by the giving of the note in question.

It should be here noted that the evidence does not show, and it is not contended, that there was any fraud or misrepresentation, or any mistake of law or fact. Neither party contends the contract is ambiguous. Although on two occasions the defendants attempted to go back of the writing in order to show what was understood, on both occasions the plaintiff successfully objected on the ground that the written agreement speaks for itself.

The court rendered judgment for the defendants, and plaintiff has appealed. His contentions are premised upon the proposition that the giving of the note was a compromise of a disputed claim; that because plaintiff did not receive the complete consideration for which he bargained (the complete 65-acre cotton allotment), he was entitled to rescind; that in the new agreement (the acceptance of the note) he forbore this right of rescission, and this was sufficient consideration.

Among the respondents' contentions are (1) the contract for a 65-acre allotment was complied with by 'making it up' for the one year; (2) there was no consideration because plaintiff's claim for damages had no basis; and (3) if there was a consideration it was illegal.

It is necessary that we first understand the nature of the thing the parties were attempting to bargain:

In the Agricultural Adjustment Act, Title 7 U.S.C.A. Sec. 1282, there is a declaration of

Page 485

policy, and in section 1341 there is a legislative finding and declaration that fluctuations in supplies of cotton disrupt orderly marketing, with consequent destruction of commerce; that without federal assistance farmers cannot prevent recurrence of excessive supplies and provide for orderly marketing; that it is in the interest of general welfare that the soil be not wasted by production of excessive supplied of cotton.

Accordingly it is provided that the Secretary of Agriculture shall fix and proclaim a national quota of cotton 'for such marketing year,' this to be submitted to a referendum, and if the required majority of the farmers vote to surrender a portion of their liberty in this respect, then the Secretary shall impose a national allotment for cotton 'to be produced in the next calendar year.' This allotment is thereafter apportioned among the states, and the state allotment is in turn apportioned among the counties, and the county allotment is in turn (by local committee) apportioned among the individual farms. The law provides for the reservation of a portion of the allotment in order to allow for adjustments, abnormal conditions, and new farms. It also provides that any allotment acreage which is voluntarily surrendered shall be reapportioned to other farms; and it further provides a penalty against the farmer for planting more than the allotment which has been established for his land. The Secretary is vested with power to make regulations necessary to carry out and enforce the Act, 7 U.S.C.A. Sec. 1281 et seq.

The purpose and general scheme of the Act is to accomplish a national public benefit in controlling surplus and consequent abnormal prices by limiting production, 3 which purpose and benefit will fail unless the plan is carried out at farm level. 4 Under the Act and its administration, the individual farm acreage allotment is fixed by the county committee, whose finding of facts is final. The allotment runs with the land. It is not the separate 'property' of the individual and is not subject to be sold, bartered or removed to other land. 5

A situation somewhat similar to the one at hand arose in Luke v. Review Committee, D.C.W.D.La., 155 F.Supp. 719. A part of a farm was sold and the parties attempted themselves to divide the then existing allotment. The court said, loc. cit. 723:

'The County Committee and the Review Committee are legally prohibited from following the contract of sale and lease, which the plaintiff insists should be followed, since the Act and...

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12 practice notes
  • Vandivort v. Dodds Truck Line, Inc., No. 8853
    • United States
    • Missouri Court of Appeals
    • July 23, 1969
    ...5 However, after the notes were received in evidence plaintiffs did not rest as they might have done (cf. Duncan v. Black, Mo.App., 324 S.W.2d 483, 484; Waugh v. McCormick, Mo.App., 93 S.W.2d 77, 78) but, in anticipatory disaffirmation and refutation of the pleaded defense, adduced testimon......
  • Morris v. Reed
    • United States
    • Missouri Court of Appeals
    • May 6, 1974
    ...to believe that the insurer had a valid defense. Foster v. Aetna Life Ins. Co., 176 S.W.2d 482, 485, 352 Mo. 166 (1943); Duncan v. Black, 324 S.W.2d 483, 486 (Mo.App.1959); Noble v. Missouri Ins. Co., 204 S.W.2d 446 (Mo.App.1947); Yancey v. Central Mutual Ins. Ass'n., 77 S.W.2d 149 (Mo.App.......
  • McClung v. Thompson, No. 19190
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (8th Circuit)
    • October 2, 1968
    ...Luke v. Review Committee, 155 F.Supp. 719, 723 (W.D.La. 1957); Allen v. Benson, 192 So.2d 622 (La.App.1966);2 Duncan v. Black, 324 S.W.2d 483, 485 (Mo.App.1959); Mace v. Berry, 225 S.C. 160, 81 S.E.2d 276 (1954); Lee v. Berry, 219 S.C. 346, 65 S.E.2d 257 We therefore conclude that there is ......
  • Balkcom v. Cross, No. 21032
    • United States
    • Supreme Court of Georgia
    • January 5, 1961
    ...and the county allotment is in turn apportioned,[216 Ga. 532] by local committees, among the individual farms (Duncan v. Black, Mo.App. 324 S.W.2d 483); and, to effectuate this purpose, the Secretary of Agriculture is empowered by the act and acts supplementary thereto, within prescribed li......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
13 cases
  • Vandivort v. Dodds Truck Line, Inc., No. 8853
    • United States
    • Missouri Court of Appeals
    • July 23, 1969
    ...5 However, after the notes were received in evidence plaintiffs did not rest as they might have done (cf. Duncan v. Black, Mo.App., 324 S.W.2d 483, 484; Waugh v. McCormick, Mo.App., 93 S.W.2d 77, 78) but, in anticipatory disaffirmation and refutation of the pleaded defense, adduced testimon......
  • Morris v. Reed
    • United States
    • Missouri Court of Appeals
    • May 6, 1974
    ...to believe that the insurer had a valid defense. Foster v. Aetna Life Ins. Co., 176 S.W.2d 482, 485, 352 Mo. 166 (1943); Duncan v. Black, 324 S.W.2d 483, 486 (Mo.App.1959); Noble v. Missouri Ins. Co., 204 S.W.2d 446 (Mo.App.1947); Yancey v. Central Mutual Ins. Ass'n., 77 S.W.2d 149 (Mo.App.......
  • McClung v. Thompson, No. 19190
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (8th Circuit)
    • October 2, 1968
    ...Luke v. Review Committee, 155 F.Supp. 719, 723 (W.D.La. 1957); Allen v. Benson, 192 So.2d 622 (La.App.1966);2 Duncan v. Black, 324 S.W.2d 483, 485 (Mo.App.1959); Mace v. Berry, 225 S.C. 160, 81 S.E.2d 276 (1954); Lee v. Berry, 219 S.C. 346, 65 S.E.2d 257 We therefore conclude that there is ......
  • Balkcom v. Cross, No. 21032
    • United States
    • Supreme Court of Georgia
    • January 5, 1961
    ...and the county allotment is in turn apportioned,[216 Ga. 532] by local committees, among the individual farms (Duncan v. Black, Mo.App. 324 S.W.2d 483); and, to effectuate this purpose, the Secretary of Agriculture is empowered by the act and acts supplementary thereto, within prescribed li......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

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