Empire Securities Co. v. Webb

CourtSupreme Court of Alabama
Citation81 So. 51,202 Ala. 549
Docket Number6 Div. 855
Decision Date16 January 1919

81 So. 51

202 Ala. 549


6 Div. 855

Supreme Court of Alabama

January 16, 1919

Rehearing Denied Feb. 6, 1919

Appeal from Circuit Court, Jefferson County; C.B. Smith, Judge.

Action by M.F. Webb against the Empire Securities Company. Judgment for plaintiff, and defendant appeals. Affirmed. [81 So. 52]

W.T. Hill and Haley & Haley, all of Birmingham, for appellant.

Thomas J. Judge, of Birmingham, for appellee.


The action is by appellee, a commission merchant, or broker, against appellant, his principal, to recover his commission or compensation for procuring a purchaser able and willing to buy the property of the principal.

The complaint contained two counts, one declaring on an express contract, the other on a common count for work and labor done. The trial was had on the general issue as to these counts, and resulted in a judgment for the plaintiff, from which defendant appeals.

It appears from the express contract that a sale of the principal's property for cash was not contemplated, but only an exchange of city or suburban property for farm lands, and that each party, plaintiff's principal and the owner of the farm lands, was to furnish to the other a good and merchantable title. The agreement to exchange the lands of appellant for farm lands in Louisiana was in writing. Plaintiff claims that he, by this contract, procured a purchaser able and willing to make the exchange, but that consummation was prevented by the fault of appellant in failing to furnish a good and merchantable title to its property to be exchanged, and not on account of any fault of plaintiff. Appellant, on the other hand, contends that plaintiff failed to furnish a purchaser who was able and willing to purchase or exchange on the agreed terms; that plaintiff, or the other party failed to furnish a good and merchantable title to the property to be exchanged, and that they furnished no abstract of title at all to the farm lands to be exchanged; and therefore it did not appear that there was a good and merchantable title, and hence appellant was not placed under any duty to make the exchange.


The office of a real estate broker is usually to bring two principals together, in order that they may negotiate with each other and trade as to lands on such terms as may be agreed upon between them. The broker may be the agent of both principals, if that be the understanding between all parties. He may be employed by one principal to procure a purchaser, and by the other to procure a seller, or an exchange of lands, as in this case, and each may agree to pay him a commission; but the fact that he is so acting as the agent of both parties must be known to each. He cannot be openly the agent for one and secretly the agent of the other; his dual relation and duties to each must be known to both principals in order to hold both parties as to his contract of agency and compensation for services. The law applicable to this case, as to whether or not this plaintiff was entitled to recover his commission from appellant, as his principal, for services as a broker, is well stated by Justice Somerville in the case of Handley v. Shaffer, 177 Ala. 636, 59 So. 286,...

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5 cases
  • Ellison v. Sudduth Realty Co., 6 Div. 90
    • United States
    • Supreme Court of Alabama
    • March 29, 1928
    ...647, 86 So. 528; Finney v. Newson, 203 Ala. 191, 82 So. 441; Morris v. Clark, 202 Ala. 324, 80 So. 406; Empire Securities Co. v. Webb, 202 Ala. 549, 81 So. 51; El Dorado Coal Co. v. Rust & Shelburne, 202 Ala. 625, 81 So. 567; Clay v. Cummins, 201 Ala. 34, 77 So. 328; Id., 207 Ala. 105, 91 S......
  • Adams v. Queen Ins. Co. of America, 7 Div. 235
    • United States
    • Supreme Court of Alabama
    • May 24, 1956
    ...existence. The best evidence rule has no application. There was no error in this ruling of the trial court. Empire Securities Co. v. Webb, 202 Ala. 549, 81 So. 51; Greil Bros. Co. v. McLain, 206 Ala. 212, 89 So. 505; American Ry. Express Co. v. Stanley, 207 Ala. 380, 92 So. During the direc......
  • Belcher v. Hubbard, 6 Div. 171.
    • United States
    • Alabama Court of Appeals
    • March 27, 1945
    ...the objection.' Assuming, but not deciding, that the state of the record permits us to review the ruling (Empire Securities Co. v. Webb, 202 Ala. 549, 81 So. 51), the negative answer to the question removed any injury that [32 Ala.App. 98] may have inured to appellant. Supreme Court Rule 45......
  • Malone v. Dillard, 6 Div. 173
    • United States
    • Supreme Court of Alabama
    • January 15, 1925
    ...Fleishman, 35 Utah, 566, 101 P. 984, 24 L.R.A. (N.S.) 1182; Reasoner v. Yates, 90 Neb. 757, 134 N.W. 651; Empire Co. v. Webb, 202 Ala. 549, 81 So. 51. In the instant case, the agreed statement of facts discloses that the purchaser submitted to the defendant by the plaintiffs was ready, will......
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