Hanners v. Balfour Guthrie, Inc.

CourtSupreme Court of Alabama
Writing for the CourtHOUSTON; MADDOX; ADAMS
Citation564 So.2d 412
Decision Date20 April 1990
PartiesGerald HANNERS d/b/a Newton Peanut Company v. BALFOUR GUTHRIE, INC. 88-1152.

Page 412

564 So.2d 412
Gerald HANNERS d/b/a Newton Peanut Company
v.
BALFOUR GUTHRIE, INC.
88-1152.
Supreme Court of Alabama.
April 20, 1990.

Steven F. Schmitt, Tallassee, and Joseph W. Adams, Ozark, for appellant.

Herman Cobb of Buntin, Cobb & Shealy, Dothan, and J. Wayne Pierce, Atlanta, Ga., for appellee.

HOUSTON, Justice.

This is an appeal from summary judgment entered in favor of Balfour Guthrie,

Page 413

Inc. ("Balfour"), 1 against Gerald Hanners d/b/a Newton Peanut Company ("Hanners") on Hanners's fraud claim with regard to the payment terms of two contracts entered into between Balfour and Hanners. We reverse and remand.

The issue for our review is whether a genuine issue of fact existed as to whether Hanners reasonably relied on alleged misrepresentations made by Balfour.

Summary judgment is appropriate where there is no genuine issue as to any material fact, and the moving party is entitled to a judgment as a matter of law. Rule 56, A.R.Civ.P. All reasonable doubts concerning the existence of a genuine issue of material fact must be resolved against the moving party. The applicable standard of review is the "substantial evidence rule." Ala.Code 1975, § 12-21-12; Greene v. Thompson, 554 So.2d 376 (Ala.1989); Perry v. Hancock Fabrics, Inc., 541 So.2d 521 (Ala.1989); see, also, Bass v. SouthTrust Bank of Baldwin County, 538 So.2d 794 (Ala.1989). Thus, the trial court was obligated to view all evidentiary material offered by Balfour in support of its motion in the light most favorable to Hanners, Houston v. McClure, 425 So.2d 1114 (Ala.1983); and the burden of proving the non-existence of reasonable reliance on the part of Hanners rested with Balfour as the moving party.

Viewing the evidence in the light most favorable to Hanners, as we are required to do under Rule 56, we find that the trial court had the following facts before it at the time it granted Balfour's motion for summary judgment: Hanners operated a sole proprietorship known as Newton Peanut Company, whose business was to buy peanuts, which Hanners processed by shelling and sizing and then selling to dealers or manufacturers through brokers. Hanners entered into agreements with Balfour on December 12, 1985, and March 5, 1986, to sell Balfour peanuts. Hanners based his decision to sell peanuts to Balfour for the particular quoted prices upon the payment terms stated in both contracts, "Net cash, receipt of invoice," believing these terms to mean that Balfour would pay Hanners when the peanuts were delivered to Balfour. Neither Balfour nor any of its representatives told Hanners that Balfour would pay in any way other than cash upon receipt of Hanners's invoices, which would have been in accordance with the Southeastern Peanut Association rules, as well as the standards and practices generally followed in the peanut industry. Hanners expected to receive payment from Balfour, usually in less than one week and in no more than two weeks after the date on the invoice; otherwise, he would consider the payments untimely and outside the intent of the contract. However, Balfour did not pay Hanners upon receipt of the invoices. Rather, Balfour paid on the first contract approximately 32 days after the date of the invoice for the first shipment and approximately 30 days after the date of the invoice on the second shipment. On the second contract, Balfour made payment to Hanners over 31 days after the date on the invoice. The main effect of Balfour's payments being delayed was Hanners's loss of the use of the funds during that period of time.

It was not until July 1, 1987, that Hanners first learned of the internal procedure of Balfour dealing with the payment of invoices for peanuts--to defer payment for 30 days after the date of invoice without regard to the date the invoice was received by Balfour and to pay different people at different times, based upon a determination by one of Balfour's officers. Evidence of this internal procedure was supported by a stamp that Balfour placed on Hanners's invoices that Balfour received, stating, "Do not pay before [date] ." This internal procedure for dealing with the payment of invoices for peanuts was in no way related to the provisions of the contract.

Although Hanners was aware of Balfour's past payment history, he was...

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591 practice notes
  • Liberty Mut. Ins. Co. v. Wheelwright Trucking Co.
    • United States
    • Supreme Court of Alabama
    • November 27, 2002
    ...it in the Underlying Action." Viewing the evidence most favorably to Gerling, the nonmovant, as we must, Hanners v. Balfour Guthrie, 564 So.2d 412 (Ala.1990), we conclude that Cribbens's affidavit does raise a genuine issue of fact with respect to the question whether Dorsey tendered the SI......
  • Laster v. Norfolk Southern Ry. Co., Inc., 1050532.
    • United States
    • Supreme Court of Alabama
    • January 16, 2009
    ...and must resolve all reasonable doubts against the movant. Ex parte CSX Transp., 938 So.2d at 962; Hanners v. Balfour Guthrie, Inc., 564 So.2d 412, 413 (Ala.1990). The trial court's ruling on questions of law carries no presumption of correctness, and this Court reviews de novo the trial co......
  • Pritchett v. State Farm Mut. Auto. Ins. Co.
    • United States
    • Alabama Court of Civil Appeals
    • February 22, 2002
    ...doubts concerning the existence of a genuine issue of material fact in favor of the nonmovant. Hanners v. Balfour Guthrie, Inc., 564 So.2d 412 In its summary judgment in favor of State Farm, the trial court determined that the above-quoted policy language unambiguously provided that Pritche......
  • Jones v. BP Oil Co., Inc.
    • United States
    • Supreme Court of Alabama
    • November 12, 1993
    ...favorable to the nonmovant and must resolve all reasonable doubts in favor of the nonmovant. Page 437 Hanners v. Balfour Guthrie, Inc., 564 So.2d 412 (Ala.1990). Construed in this manner, the evidence suggests the following Mark Jones was killed on June 12, 1990, at approximately 11:30 p.m.......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
591 cases
  • Liberty Mut. Ins. Co. v. Wheelwright Trucking Co.
    • United States
    • Supreme Court of Alabama
    • November 27, 2002
    ...it in the Underlying Action." Viewing the evidence most favorably to Gerling, the nonmovant, as we must, Hanners v. Balfour Guthrie, 564 So.2d 412 (Ala.1990), we conclude that Cribbens's affidavit does raise a genuine issue of fact with respect to the question whether Dorsey tendered the SI......
  • Laster v. Norfolk Southern Ry. Co., Inc., 1050532.
    • United States
    • Supreme Court of Alabama
    • January 16, 2009
    ...and must resolve all reasonable doubts against the movant. Ex parte CSX Transp., 938 So.2d at 962; Hanners v. Balfour Guthrie, Inc., 564 So.2d 412, 413 (Ala.1990). The trial court's ruling on questions of law carries no presumption of correctness, and this Court reviews de novo the trial co......
  • Pritchett v. State Farm Mut. Auto. Ins. Co.
    • United States
    • Alabama Court of Civil Appeals
    • February 22, 2002
    ...doubts concerning the existence of a genuine issue of material fact in favor of the nonmovant. Hanners v. Balfour Guthrie, Inc., 564 So.2d 412 In its summary judgment in favor of State Farm, the trial court determined that the above-quoted policy language unambiguously provided that Pritche......
  • Jones v. BP Oil Co., Inc.
    • United States
    • Supreme Court of Alabama
    • November 12, 1993
    ...favorable to the nonmovant and must resolve all reasonable doubts in favor of the nonmovant. Page 437 Hanners v. Balfour Guthrie, Inc., 564 So.2d 412 (Ala.1990). Construed in this manner, the evidence suggests the following Mark Jones was killed on June 12, 1990, at approximately 11:30 p.m.......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

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