Holly Sugar Corporation v. Fritzler, 1633

CourtUnited States State Supreme Court of Wyoming
Writing for the CourtBLUME, Justice.
Citation296 P. 206,42 Wyo. 446
PartiesHOLLY SUGAR CORPORATION v. FRITZLER, ET AL
Decision Date16 February 1931
Docket Number1633,1634

296 P. 206

42 Wyo. 446

HOLLY SUGAR CORPORATION
v.

FRITZLER, ET AL

Nos. 1633, 1634

Supreme Court of Wyoming

February 16, 1931


[296 P. 207]

APPEAL from the District Court, Laramie County, VOLNEY J. TIDBALL, Judge.

Action by Holly Sugar Corporation against George Fritzler, et al., under Declaratory Judgments Act, seeking equitable relief and declaration of rights under a written contract between the parties for the growing of beets by defendants and delivery thereof to plaintiff's factory in the season of 1926. From a decree granting partial relief to plaintiff, both parties appeal.

Modified and affirmed.

For the appellant in Case Numbered 1633, there was a brief by Reid & More, of Torrington, Wyo., and oral arguments by Mr. More and Mr. Reid, of Torrington, and by Mr. C. R. Ellery, of Cheyenne, Wyoming.

The only question involved in this appeal is the refusal of the trial court to pass upon the question as to whether representations were made by plaintiffs and its agents, to induce the signing of contracts, Exhibits "A", and if made, whether such representations were sufficient in law to avoid the contracts. An abstract of the evidence relating to this phase of the case is fully set out in the appeal record. The action was brought on the equity side of the court to prevent a multiplicity of suits, and under the Declaratory Judgments Act, for an interpretation of the contract entered into between the parties and a declaration of their rights, duties and status under the contract. It was admitted that each of the defendants signed an identical contract with plaintiff, for the growing and delivery of beets at plaintiff's factory. The prevention of a multiplicity of suits is within equitable jurisdiction. 10 R. C. L. 281, 21 C. J. 72; City of Albert Lea v. Nielson, et al., (Minn.) 85 N.W. 83, Smith v. Ames, 196 U.S. 466; 18 S.Ct. 418-422; Blumer v. Ulmer, et al., (Miss.) 44 So. 161; International Organization, etc. v. Red Jacket C. C. & C. Co., 18 F.2d 839-847 (4th Cir.); Wyoming v. Bowman, 127 F. 257-263 (8th Cir.); Southern Steel Co. v. Hopkins, 47 So. 274; Smith v. Bank of New England, 69 N.H. 254, 45 A. 1082; Hale v. Allison, 188 U.S. 77, 23 S.Ct. 252, 47 L.Ed. 380; Brown v. Safe Deposit Co., 128 U.S. 403, 32 L.Ed. 468; Louisville Ry. Co. v. Ohio Valley Impr. Co., 57 F. 42, 174 U.S. 552; Saratoga Co. v. Deyoe, 77 N.Y. 219; Paxton Irr. Dist. v. Conway, 94 Nebr. 204, 142 N.W. 797; Lake Charles Rice Milling Co. v. Rice Growers Assn., 295 F. 246 (9th Cir.); Bailey v. Tillinghast, 99 F. 801 (6th Cir.); Ill. Central Ry. Co. v. Caffrey, 128 F. 770; Anderson v. Anderson, (Ill.) 127 N.E. 661; Kelly v. Boettcher, 85 F. 55. Oral predictions do not constitute fraudulent representations. Huber v. Guggenheim, 89 F. 598; Frost v. Thomas, (Tex.) 238 S.W. 305; Boston Co. v. Co., 165 N.W. 856; Brown v. Co., (Mass.) 118 N.E. 266; Klebold v. Elmore, 150 N.Y.S. 978; Williston on Conts., Vol. 3, Sec. 1496; Kansas Wheat Growers Assn. v. Floyd, 227 P. 336. Fraud cannot be predicated upon misrepresentations as to matters of law. 12 R. C. L. 295; Pomeroy Eq. Jur. 882, 37 L. R. A. p. 605 (note), 26 C. J. 1207; First Nat. Bank v. Schirmer, (Minn.) 159 N.W. 800-801; United States v. Jones, 232 F. 218-223; Mutual Life Ins. Co. v. Phinney, 20 S.Ct. 911, 178 U.S. 327; Burns v. Mills, (Ind.) 147 N.E. 300; Horton v. Foley, et al., (Okla.) 220 P. 907-908; Gray, et al. v. General Const. Co., (Ark.) 250 S.W. 342-344; Batesburg Cotton Oil Co. v. Southern Ry. Co., (S. C.) 88 S.E. 360-362; Creasy Corp. v. Dunning, (Wis.) 196 N.W. 775-778; McCarter v. Zeller, (Cal.) 170 P. 636-637; Rutter & Hendrix v. Hanover Fire Ins. Co., (Ala.) 35 So. 33-37; Providence Jewelry Co. v. Bailey, (Mich.) 123 N.W. 1117-1118; Williston, 1924 Ed. 2659; Kinchen v. Austen, (Tex.) 179 S.W. 924-926. Relief cannot be granted to one in possession of his faculties, who relied upon misrepresentations of a reader. Hickman v. Sawyer, 216 F. 281-383; Hawkins v. First Natl. Bank of Marion, (Ind.) 143 N.E. 709; Dickinson v. Dickinson, (Ill.) 137 N.E. 468-470; Milner v. Earl Fruit Co., (Ida.) 232 P. 582-583; J. B. Colt Co. v. Britt, (S. C.) 123 S.W. 845-846; Lillie v. Shirver, et al., (Ia.) 179 N.W. 632-633; Parker v. Parrish, 89 S.E. 381; Tinsley v. Gullet Gin Co., (Ga.) 94 S.E. 892-894; Hoshaw v. Cosgriff, (8th Cir.) 247 F. 22-27; Hicks v. Wynn, (Va.) 119 S.E. 133-136; Colt and Co. v. Thompson, 242 P. 1030; Green, et al. v. Cox Machinery Co., (Okla.) 244 P. 414; Gunter v. Henderson Molpus Co., (Miss.) 115 So. 720-724; Lumber v. Erickson, (Kan.) 266 P. 737-738; Davidson v. Nalley Land & Inv. Co., (Ga.) 146 S.E. 559-560; Railway Co. v. Bellwith, (8th Cir.) 83 F. 437; Alexander, et al. v. Ferguson, (N. J.) 63 A. 998; Walter Pratt & Co. v. Metzger, (Ark.) 95 S.W. 451-452; Austin v. Brooklyn Co., (Mo.) 285 S.W. 1015-1017; Gardner v. Johnson, et al., (Mich.) 210 N.W. 295; Baird v. Pub. Nat. Service Bureau, (N. D.) 199 N.W. 757-760; Snell, et al. v. Union Sawmill Co., (La.) 105 So. 729-730; Morgan v. Mengel Co., (Ky.) 242 S.W. 860-961; Rawleigh Co. v. Washburn, (Mont.) 260 P. 1037-1041. It is the duty of an illiterate person to procure some reliable person, to read and explain a written contract before he signs it. Railway Co. v. Bellwith, 83 F. 437 (8th Cir.), 6 R. C. L. 625; Sponseller, et al. v. Kimball, et al., (Mich.) 224 N.W. 359-360; Wilkisius, et al. v. Sheehan, et al., (Mass.) 155 N.E. 5-6; Shulman v. Moser, (Ill.) 119 N.E. 936-938; Miller v. Walker, (Ga.) 97 S.E. 869; Schmidt and Bekins v. Van & Storage Co., (Cal.) 155 P. 647-648; Bates v. Harte, (Ala.) 26 So. 898-900; Pittman v. Tobacco Growers Coop. Assn., 121 S.E. 624. A determination of the question of fraud in this case, would not deprive the defendants of a jury trial, no jury having been demanded. 5783 C. S.; 21 C. J. 138, 144; Dolan v. Cain, (Wash.) 109 P. 1009; McLennan v. Church, (Wis.) 158 N.W. 73. It was the duty of the court to render a complete declaration as to plaintiff's rights and liability under the contract submitted. Ch. 50, Sec. 1, Laws 1923; 12 A. L. R. 52; note. Also to pass upon the validity of the contract. Ch. 50, Laws 1923. The following authorities cited at the trial, and do not appear in appellant's brief as to the validity of the contract: Loesch v. Ins. Co., 218 N.Y.S. 412; Dodge v. Campbell, 220 N.Y.S. 263; Oldham v. Moodie, (Cal.) 270 P. 688; Baumann v. Baumann, 226 N.Y.S. 577. The court erred in not disposing of all issues raised by the pleadings. State v. Pease, (Tex.) 147 S.W. 649; Rogers v. United Selling Co., 148 N.Y.S. 277; Troughton v. Digmore Holding Co., 173 N.Y.S. 659; In re Waters of Willow Creek, (Or.) 237 P. 682; Nicholson v. Getchell, (Neb.) 202 N.W. 618.

For the respondents there was a brief by David J. Howell, Walter Q. Phelan, Edward B. Almon, and Lee & Lee, of Cheyenne, Wyoming, and John L. Sawyer and Everett Taylor, of Torrington, Wyoming, and oral argument by Walter Q. Phelan and Ray E. Lee.

The evident purpose of plaintiffs action is to obtain a statement or interpretation of certain contracts, but their brief fails to mention any rule of construction. Reference is made in the brief, to the fact that of the 333 defendants who were served, only 42 appeared and testified on their own behalf, and 9 others gave depositions. An attempted inference by plaintiffs counsel that only 51 of the defendants felt that they were injured. But plaintiffs pleadings show, that more than 100 farmers employed counsel to file suits, before plaintiffs action was commenced. Moreover, the trial was held at Cheyenne, about 100 miles from the homes of defendants, in the busy month of July, and the fact that 51 of the farmers did appear and testify at a trial lasting ten days, indicates the feeling resulting from plaintiff's conduct. In fact, plaintiff's affidavit for change of venue shows a general feeling against plaintiff in the community. Much of plaintiff's brief is devoted to selected portions of the evidence in support of two false assumptions: First, that defendants are seeking to recover $ 8.00 per ton on all beets, delivered by reason of oral promises made by agents outside of the contract. Second, that the contracts are free from ambiguities. There is no attempt by defendants to alter, diminish or modify the terms of the written contract by oral evidence. We repudiate the first assumption, and deny the second. The plaintiffs having sought equitable relief through the form of a legal remedy, excluded defendants from a jury trial. Burns v. Bank, 33 Wyo. 474. The trial court in ruling upon the demurrers, felt that it was an equity case. It would have been useless for defendants to have filed a demand for a jury. The evidence shows that the prime question in the mind of each defendant when making his contract was the price he would receive for his beets in 1926. Plaintiff is evidently seeking to evade the legal effect of obligations assumed in its contracts with defendants. Defendants had an opportunity to sell their beets to the Great Western Sugar Company for $ 8.00 per ton. But no question of the uncertainty of the meaning of their contract with plaintiff was raised at that time; if defendants signed that contract with an understanding as to the meaning thereof, plaintiff should be held to that meaning and required to pay. The authorities showing the application and limitation of the Declaratory Judgments Act, are 33 C. J. 1097, and notes; 12 A. L. R. 1, and notes beginning at page 52; 19 A. L. R. 1101, and notes beginning at page 1124; 50 A. L. R. 34, and notes beginning at 42; 68 A. L. R. 105, and notes beginning at 110; Kaleikew v. Hall, 27 Hawaii 420. It was held in the later case that when the acts complained of had been committed, and a cause of action exists, parties are required to follow the usual remedies and a Declaratory Judgment was refused. The uncertainty of the situation must be determined in the Declaratory Judgment proceedings before the...

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56 practice notes
  • St. Joseph Hospital v. Corbetta Const. Co., Inc., Nos. 56452
    • United States
    • United States Appellate Court of Illinois
    • June 3, 1974
    ...124 Cal.App. 263, 12 P.2d 61; Alfred E. Joy Co. v. New Amsterdam Casualty Co., 98 Conn. 794, 120 A. 684; Holly Sugar Corp. v. Fritzler, 42 Wyo. 446, 296 P. To the same effect see Crerar Clinch Coal Co. v. Board of Education (1957), 13 Ill.App.2d 208, 218, 141 N.E.2d 393; Greene v. Gust (196......
  • Hosp v. Cass Cnty., No. 6818.
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of North Dakota
    • January 2, 1943
    ...777) and to authorize judicial action in actual controversies where such action formerly was not available. Holly Sugar Corp. v. Fritzler, 42 Wyo. 446, 296 P. 206. But an action or proceeding for a declaratory judgment must involve an actual controversy of a justiciable character, between p......
  • Beatty v. Chicago, B. & Q. R. Co., 1915
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Wyoming
    • December 10, 1935
    ...no reason to bring an action for a declaratory judgment unless some good purpose will be subserved thereby. Holly Sugar Co. v. Fritzler, 42 Wyo. 446, [52 P.2d 409] 296 P. 206. In the ordinary action for damages, a defendant is entitled to know the amount claimed. Sec. 89-1004, subd. 3, Rev.......
  • Samuelson v. Brotherhood of Railroad Trainmen, 2282
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Wyoming
    • September 5, 1944
    ...judgment some useful purpose must be accomplished by it. Beatty v. C. B. & Q. Ry. Co., 49 Wyo. 22, 37; Holly Sugar Corp. v. Fritzler, 42 Wyo. 446, 463. Where a member claims he has been denied a hearing to which he is entitled under the union rules and regulations, any court decree must be ......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
56 cases
  • Samuelson v. Brotherhood of Railroad Trainmen, 2282
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Wyoming
    • September 5, 1944
    ...judgment some useful purpose must be accomplished by it. Beatty v. C. B. & Q. Ry. Co., 49 Wyo. 22, 37; Holly Sugar Corp. v. Fritzler, 42 Wyo. 446, 463. Where a member claims he has been denied a hearing to which he is entitled under the union rules and regulations, any court decree must be ......
  • St. Joseph Hospital v. Corbetta Const. Co., Inc., Nos. 56452
    • United States
    • United States Appellate Court of Illinois
    • June 3, 1974
    ...124 Cal.App. 263, 12 P.2d 61; Alfred E. Joy Co. v. New Amsterdam Casualty Co., 98 Conn. 794, 120 A. 684; Holly Sugar Corp. v. Fritzler, 42 Wyo. 446, 296 P. To the same effect see Crerar Clinch Coal Co. v. Board of Education (1957), 13 Ill.App.2d 208, 218, 141 N.E.2d 393; Greene v. Gust (196......
  • Hosp v. Cass Cnty., No. 6818.
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of North Dakota
    • January 2, 1943
    ...777) and to authorize judicial action in actual controversies where such action formerly was not available. Holly Sugar Corp. v. Fritzler, 42 Wyo. 446, 296 P. 206. But an action or proceeding for a declaratory judgment must involve an actual controversy of a justiciable character, between p......
  • Beatty v. Chicago, B. & Q. R. Co., 1915
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Wyoming
    • December 10, 1935
    ...no reason to bring an action for a declaratory judgment unless some good purpose will be subserved thereby. Holly Sugar Co. v. Fritzler, 42 Wyo. 446, [52 P.2d 409] 296 P. 206. In the ordinary action for damages, a defendant is entitled to know the amount claimed. Sec. 89-1004, subd. 3, Rev.......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

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