Modern Heat & Power Co. v. Paul, No. 52854

CourtUnited States State Supreme Court of Iowa
Writing for the CourtMOORE
Citation158 N.W.2d 8,261 Iowa 1319
Docket NumberNo. 52854
Decision Date09 April 1968
PartiesMODERN HEAT & POWER COMPANY, Appellant, v. Robert C. PAUL and Dorothy J. Paul, Merrill D. and Mary Jane Heavilin, Ralph L. and Ina E. Hughes, Appellees.

Page 8

158 N.W.2d 8
261 Iowa 1319
MODERN HEAT & POWER COMPANY, Appellant,
v.
Robert C. PAUL and Dorothy J. Paul, Merrill D. and Mary Jane Heavilin, Ralph L. and Ina E. Hughes, Appellees.
No. 52854.
Supreme Court of Iowa.
April 9, 1968.

Joseph A. Billings, Des Moines, for appellant.

[261 Iowa 1320]

Page 9

P. F. Elgin, Indianola, for Robert C. & Dorothy J. Paul, appellees.

Maynard Hayden, Indianola, for Merrill D. & Mary Jane Heavilin and Ralph L. and Ina E. Hughes, appellees.

MOORE, Justice.

The factual circumstances giving rise to this litigation are similar to countless other cases brought before the court in which seemingly sound, well-planned business transactions have gradually degenerated to a state necessitating judicial resolution.

On October 12, 1964 defendant Robert C. Paul signed a purchase order for '1 Bishop Steelite Deluxe Pear-Shaped Swimming Pool with tapered Wall, Knockeddown, unassembled and uninstalled--f.o.b. Carlisle, Iowa'.

This purchase order listed the items to be furnished by plaintiff Modern Heat & Power Company. It also included:

"TERMS: The price of the above

--------

listed items shown in the Purchase
                Order $2490.00
                 Plus extra charge for Special
                Coping as Requested & Agreed
                Agreed 50.00
                 --------
                 $2545.00
                

Plus 2% Sales Tax

The Purchaser shall pay $500 down upon signing of this contract, and cash upon delivery. If this pool is delivered on a partial basis, then 50% Of the price of the pool shall be paid upon partial delivery, and the balance shall be paid on the final delivery.

'If the Customer meets the terms of the contract payment, then he may take a CASH DISCOUNT of $345.00 at the time payment is made.'

All negotiations relative to the agreement were conducted by Mr. Paul and Kenneth M. Bishop who testified he was the sole manager of plaintiff company. Paul paid plaintiff $500 on October 12, 1964 and an additional $1000 on October 13, 1964 when he picked up materials necessary to commence construction of the pool. Paul procured no further material from plaintiff company until May 6, 1965 when he picked up some minor items. He made no further payment at that time. The evidence is [261 Iowa 1321] conflicting concerning whether he had requested delivery of the balance of materials between October 13, 1964 and May 6, 1965, but it is undisputed Paul was a frequent visitor on company premises between December, 1964 and May, 1965.

On May 22, 1965 Paul picked up 40 pieces of coping from plaintiff. Coping is a cement item used for trimming and beautifying swimming pools. On May 27, 1965 Paul had workmen at the pool site and sent a Mr. Mark to obtain the balance of the coping. Plaintiff refused to make delivery. Immediately thereafter Paul went to plaintiff's office in Carlisle and was successful in acquiring what he thought was enough coping to finish the trimming. At that time he gave plaintiff a check for $350 and was required to sign a statement that he had sufficient funds to cover the check. Paul's prior checks had cleared the bank without difficulty. This last check bore a written notation placed thereon by plaintiff's employee, 'Balance $397.56.' This was not denied by plaintiff.

Paul testified he was shorted seven pieces of coping and was thereby prevented from completing the trimming. Testimony for plaintiff was that it was sufficient to complete that part of the pool. A point of difference was whether the purchase...

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2 practice notes
  • Baron v. Crossroads Center of Iowa, Inc., No. 53183
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Iowa
    • March 11, 1969
    ...legal effect to the party who chose the words.' 3 Corbin on Contracts, section 559, page 262. In Modern Heat and Power Co. v. Paul, Iowa, 158 N.W.2d 8, 10, we again recognized this basic principle in a proper case: '* * *. The contract is vague and unclear in this respect. We have often hel......
  • Kinney v. Capitol-Strauss, Inc., CAPITOL-STRAUS
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Iowa
    • May 23, 1973
    ...or furnishes the instrument applies only where the contract is ambiguous, vague or unclear. See Modern Heat & Power Company v. Paul, 261 Iowa 1319, 158 N.W.2d 8 (1968). That rule is likewise inapplicable where the instrument is prepared with the aid and approval, and under scrutiny of legal......
2 cases
  • Baron v. Crossroads Center of Iowa, Inc., No. 53183
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Iowa
    • March 11, 1969
    ...legal effect to the party who chose the words.' 3 Corbin on Contracts, section 559, page 262. In Modern Heat and Power Co. v. Paul, Iowa, 158 N.W.2d 8, 10, we again recognized this basic principle in a proper case: '* * *. The contract is vague and unclear in this respect. We have often hel......
  • Kinney v. Capitol-Strauss, Inc., CAPITOL-STRAUS
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Iowa
    • May 23, 1973
    ...or furnishes the instrument applies only where the contract is ambiguous, vague or unclear. See Modern Heat & Power Company v. Paul, 261 Iowa 1319, 158 N.W.2d 8 (1968). That rule is likewise inapplicable where the instrument is prepared with the aid and approval, and under scrutiny of l......

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