Laird v. Keithley, No. 18811.

CourtUnited States State Supreme Court of Missouri
Writing for the CourtWoodson
Citation201 S.W. 1138
PartiesLAIRD v. KEITHLEY.
Decision Date04 March 1918
Docket NumberNo. 18811.
201 S.W. 1138
LAIRD
v.
KEITHLEY.
No. 18811.
Supreme Court of Missouri, Division No. 1.
March 4, 1918.
Rehearing Denied March 29, 1918.

Appeal from Circuit Court, Audrain County; James D. Barnett, Judge.

Action by Joseph B. Laird against Edwin W. Keithley. Judgment for plaintiff, and defendant appeals. Affirmed.

The plaintiff brought this suit against the defendant in the circuit court of Rails county to recover the sum of $25,000 damages sustained by him on account of fraudulent representations and deceit alleged by him to have been made and practiced by the defendant in effecting an exchange of a farm situate in Rails county, Mo., for a farm owned by plaintiff in Fulton county, Ill. The case was by change of venue sent to the circuit court of Audrain county, where a trial was had before the court and a jury, which resulted in a judgment for the plaintiff for the sum of $11,000, from which the defendant duly appealed to this court.

The petition is quite lengthy, and sets forth with much detail the fraudulent representations made to and deceit practiced upon plaintiff by the defendant. The answer admits the exchange of the farms as charged in the petition, denied all other allegations of the petition, and pleads the five-year statute of limitations, the same being section 1889, R. S. 1909. The reply was a general denial.

The plaintiff's evidence tended to show the following facts: The plaintiff owned a farm of 320 acres located in Fulton county, Ill., and one Van B. Elzea owned another consisting of 525 acres situate in Ralls county, Mo. The former was of middle age, of limited education, a farmer by occupation, with no experience outside of farming. He was born and reared on the farm he traded to defendant, the larger part of which he acquired from his father, and the remainder from time to time from his neighbors, but had no other experience in buying or selling real estate. At the date of the contract of trade which was November 13, 1907, the

[201 S.W. 1139]

plaintiff's farm was incumbered with a deed of trust for $7,500. At and prior thereto he was cultivating the farm with the aid of his three sons. This farm was fairly well improved with all except 10 or 12 acres in cultivation. All the evidence for the plaintiff tended to show that this farm was worth from $80 to $90 per acre, and there was no testimony to the contrary, except that of defendant who testified that he sold the farm for a sum somewhat less than that.

The moving cause of plaintiff's desire to sell his farm was to purchase a large one in order to give his three sons better opportunities to advance their own interest. The one he owned was not large enough for all of them. He had never traded lands before, and did not wish to do so upon this occasion, and so expressed himself repeatedly, but wished to sell his farm and purchase another.

With that idea in view he spoke to one Beam, a live-stock auctioneer, and inquired if he knew of a prospective purchaser. The latter replied that he would look around for one. Beam's employment was limited to the procurement of a purchaser. On the next day Beam brought the witness A. E. Meredith to see plaintiff, and the trade in question had its inception in this visit, and the matter was negotiated in the following manner, as shown by the testimony of Laird, the plaintiff, viz.:

"Mr. Meredith came out the next day after I had seen Mr, Beam, and he told me that Mr. Beam says `you want to sell your farm and get a larger farm.' I told him that we had talked about that, me and my wife, that we would like to sell our farm and buy a larger farm because we didn't have enough land for the boys, and it seemed as though the boys wanted to farm, and we thought as long as they wanted to farm, why, there was no better place to raise the boys than on the farm, and for that reason we wanted to buy a larger farm. He wanted to know if I would consider a trade in a larger farm. He told me what he had, a farm down near Center, Mo., that belonged to Mr. E. W. Keithley, and I told him I wasn't any trader, that I wanted to sell my farm, and that if I could sell my farm I might go and look at his farm. And he wanted me to go to see the farm, and I told him `No,' that I wouldn't do that. I says, `I don't know anything about Missouri land, and I wouldn't know anything about it only what was told me, because I never farmed any other land only right where I lived.' And he went on to tell me who owned this farm. I told him I wouldn't take any chances on trading, and he said there was no chances to take, because Mr. Keithley was a banker there, and was — he says, `You will know, if Mr. Keithley ain't all right, the farmers and merchants wouldn't have him attend to their business for them.' `And he is also,' and he says, `a leading man in the church and Sunday school worker;' and he says, `You know a man of that kind couldn't afford to tell you anything only what was right; he couldn't misrepresent anything.' Mr. Meredith told me, `If you would go down there, if you should make a trade and move down there, Mr. Keithley would expect you to do business at that bank, and he couldn't afford to misrepresent anything.' `So,' he says, `there ain't any chances to take on this.' And I asked him what kind of crops they raised down there, and he told me, `Just the same as you would here in Illinois.' And I wanted to know how much they raised, and he told me that Mr. Keithley told him that this farm had been producing on an average of from 25 to 37 bushels of wheat per acre for a number of years, and from 50 to 70 bushels of corn.

"Mr. Meredith came back in about a week and wanted me to go and see the farm. I told him I was busy and didn't believe I would go, or I would rather wait and see about selling this farm, he told me, he says, Mr. Meredith told me that, `if you would sell your farm, why, you couldn't go down and buy that farm any cheaper with the cash than you could trade for it. Mr. Keithley had bought this farm of Mr. Van B. Elzea, and bought it for a mule farm, and had decided to sell it.' He said that he bought this farm along in the summer some time, and he said the reason he wanted to sell this farm — he said the reason Mr. Keithley wanted to sell this farm was on account his wife had taken sick and had to take her to the hospital and have an operation, and on account of that he desired to sell all the land he had, because he could loan the money and look after that easier than he could the farms, and if his wife got able he was going to take her to some health resort. * * *

"He told me that Mr. Keithley had given — had paid Mr. Elzea about $80 or $85, somewhere right in there, about that, but he didn't know just what, but about $80 or $85. About a week later I met Mr. Meredith at Canton, and he said he had got a letter from Mr. Keithley saying he was coming over as soon as he could get away. Next thing I knew about it Mr. Keithley and Mr. Meredith came to my place to see it. * * * Mr. Keithley examined the corn and the different shocks, and he says, `That's pretty good corn.' I says, `That corn will make about 60 to 65 bushels to the acre;' and I told him our corn usually went from 40 to 70 and 80 bushels to the acre. And that's the fact, that was the usual yield over there; under usual conditions, year to year, that's the average. The wheat crop per year was from 20 to 35 bushels, and on ground that ain't been run to corn too long will make more. I have known right on the adjoining farm, just over the fence, when it went to 43 bushels. The land was the same quality. We never used fertilizer over there, didn't know anything about it.

"After looking over the farm we returned to the house, and he [Mr. Keithley] says, `I have got a farm of 525 acres near Center, Mo., that farm, if you will come down, I would be glad to show you the farm.' And I told Mr. Keithley, I says, `Mr. Keithley I am no trader.' I says, 'A trade might be all right if I knew whether I was getting a square deal.' Mr. Keithley says, `If you will come down I will assure you I will give you a square deal; that's all I want is a square deal.' I told him that's what I wanted; that I didn't want any of his money in case we traded, and that what I had I had worked hard for; I didn't have any to give him. He says, `I have got a farm as good as yours. or better.'"

The evidence also tended to show:

That Keithley, in anticipation of Laird's visiting the Elzea farm, set out to conceal certain facts concerning the farm. He made a trip to the farm and gave the following instructions to a farm hand there, Will Hawkins, with references to conceal certain disadvantages of the farm. Will Hawkins testified as follows:

"Mr. Hays: Q. Go ahead and state, Will. A. Well, I met Mr. Keithley as I was coming out of the barn lot, and he said there would be a fellow come there from Illinois — didn't call any names — to look at this place. And he says, `If Mr. Elzea ain't there, and it falls to my lot, take him back to town.' He didn't know how long he would stay. Q. Whose lot? A. For me to take him back around by Salem Church.

[201 S.W. 1140]

Not to go the lower road with him. He said that road was awful bad, and he didn't want him to see it the way it was. Q. What else did he say with reference to what you would say to the purchaser? A. Well, he says if he asked me about the place at all to tell him I didn't know anything about it. Just to talk as though I didn't live any closer than he did. That's all he ever said to me about it."

That defendant had previously engaged A. E. Meredith as his agent to sell or trade the Missouri farm, who testified as follows:

"I went to Center, Mo., to see Mr. Keithley. He stated to me while there that he had a 525-acre farm laying east of Center, about 4 miles, that he had purchased from Van Elzea. * * * He said to me: `I would like to sell this farm and another I have in order to obtain money, as my wife is in poor health; I want...

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15 practice notes
  • State ex Inf. Taylor v. American Ins. Co., No. 36724.
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Missouri
    • December 30, 1946
    ...See, also, National City Bank of St. Louis v. Carleton Dry Goods Co., 334 Mo. 339, 67 S.W. (2d) 69, 73; Laird v. Keithley (Mo. Sup.), 201 S.W. 1138, 1143; Brown v. Kansas City Southern R. Co., 187 Mo. App. 104, 173 S.W. 73; Darks v. Scudders-Gale Groc. Co., 146 Mo. App. 246, 130 S.W. 430, l......
  • May Department Stores Co. v. Union E.L. & P. Co., No. 34288.
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Missouri
    • June 30, 1937
    ...Statute of Limitations does not apply because of defendant's fraudulent concealment. Pomeroy v. Benton, 57 Mo. 531; Laird v. Keithley, 201 S.W. 1138; Monmouth College v. Dockery, 241 Mo. 522; Thaler v. Niedermeyer, 185 Mo. App. 250; Cottrell v. Krum, 10 Mo. 397. (a) The Statute of Limitatio......
  • Mavrakos v. Mavrakos Candy Co., No. 41170.
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Missouri
    • September 12, 1949
    ...St. Louis & S.F. Ry. Co., 320 Mo. 916, 9 S.W. (2d) 912; Block v. U.S.F. & G. Co., 316 Mo. 278, 290 S.W. 429; Laird v. Keithley, 201 S.W. 1138; Henry v. Ill. Cent. R. Co., 282 S.W. 423; Wolfe v. Payne, 294 Mo. 170, 241 S.W. 915; Rowe v. Missouri-Kansas-Texas R. Co., 339 Mo. 1145, 100......
  • Poe v. Illinois Cent. Railroad Co., No. 34591.
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Missouri
    • November 17, 1936
    ...State ex rel. Brown v. Trimble, 23 S.W. (2d) 101; State ex rel. Union Pac. Railroad Co. v. Bland, 23 S.W. (2d) 1029; Laird v. Keithley, 201 S.W. 1138. (a) There was substantial evidence to the effect that the presence of the pile of gravel over which plaintiff fell was known to the defendan......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
15 cases
  • State ex Inf. Taylor v. American Ins. Co., No. 36724.
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Missouri
    • December 30, 1946
    ...See, also, National City Bank of St. Louis v. Carleton Dry Goods Co., 334 Mo. 339, 67 S.W. (2d) 69, 73; Laird v. Keithley (Mo. Sup.), 201 S.W. 1138, 1143; Brown v. Kansas City Southern R. Co., 187 Mo. App. 104, 173 S.W. 73; Darks v. Scudders-Gale Groc. Co., 146 Mo. App. 246, 130 S.W. 430, l......
  • May Department Stores Co. v. Union E.L. & P. Co., No. 34288.
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Missouri
    • June 30, 1937
    ...Statute of Limitations does not apply because of defendant's fraudulent concealment. Pomeroy v. Benton, 57 Mo. 531; Laird v. Keithley, 201 S.W. 1138; Monmouth College v. Dockery, 241 Mo. 522; Thaler v. Niedermeyer, 185 Mo. App. 250; Cottrell v. Krum, 10 Mo. 397. (a) The Statute of Limitatio......
  • Mavrakos v. Mavrakos Candy Co., No. 41170.
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Missouri
    • September 12, 1949
    ...St. Louis & S.F. Ry. Co., 320 Mo. 916, 9 S.W. (2d) 912; Block v. U.S.F. & G. Co., 316 Mo. 278, 290 S.W. 429; Laird v. Keithley, 201 S.W. 1138; Henry v. Ill. Cent. R. Co., 282 S.W. 423; Wolfe v. Payne, 294 Mo. 170, 241 S.W. 915; Rowe v. Missouri-Kansas-Texas R. Co., 339 Mo. 1145, 100......
  • Poe v. Illinois Cent. Railroad Co., No. 34591.
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Missouri
    • November 17, 1936
    ...State ex rel. Brown v. Trimble, 23 S.W. (2d) 101; State ex rel. Union Pac. Railroad Co. v. Bland, 23 S.W. (2d) 1029; Laird v. Keithley, 201 S.W. 1138. (a) There was substantial evidence to the effect that the presence of the pile of gravel over which plaintiff fell was known to the defendan......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

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