Mumford v. Gorman

Decision Date28 February 1880
Citation65 Ga. 12
PartiesPorter & Mumford. v. Gorman.
CourtGeorgia Supreme Court

Covenant. Contracts. Pleadings. Sales. "Good-will." Before Judge Crawford. Talbot Superior Court. September Term, 1879.

Reported in the decision

Willis & Willis; J. H. Martin; J. F. Pou, for plaintiffs in error.

W. A. Little, for defendant.

CRAWFORD, Justice*

This was a suit against the defendant for a breach of covenant arising upon a deed conveying to the plaintiffs "all the printing press and presses, type, printing material, chases, cases, stands, fixtures, and all appurtenances thereto belonging, together with the good-will of the Talbotton Standard newspaper, " and not a bill in equity nor an equitable proceeding at law to reform a written contract.

The plaintiffs alleged that the good-will of the paper was worth $1,200.00, and so estimated in the trade, and that in consideration thereof it was further agreed by the defendant, and he promised that he would not put up and carry on another paper in the town of Talbotton, vet on the first day of January, 1877, the said defendant established another paper andreduced their rates to one-half of what they were before, thereby injuring them $1,500.00. The defendant demurred to this declaration, which demurrer was sustained by the court, and the plaintiffs amended by alleging "that at the time plaintiffs purchased, defendant said that he meant by \'good-will\' that he could not put up another printing press in Talbotton, and relying upon said representation and warrant that he would not put up another press in Talootton, the same was left out of the agreement." "And it was expressly understood between said parties that said Gorman would never again engage in the newspaper business in Talbotton, and it was not put in because it was agreed and understood that it was not necessary, as he would not and could not, under such covenant, put up another printing press in Talbotton."

The defendant demurred to the declaration as amended, and upon the argument of the demurrer the covenant itself was read and commented on by the counsel of the parties. The, court held "that if the plaintiffs desired to introduce evidence under the declaration as amended, to add to the *covenant a new feature or obligation that the defendant was never to engage in the newspaper business again in Talbotton, they must allege that that was the contract, and that it was left out by fraud, accident or mistake, and that one or both intended its insertion. That without some such allegation this covenant could not be extended to cover a new stipulation of that sort not in the writing. That if the deed did not speak the bargain it could be made to do so by having it reformed, but that without some legal reason shown for it, a new condition could not be engrafted upon the written contract." No further amendments were offered to bring the plaintiffs within the legal rule required by the court, that there must be some allegation either of fraud, accident, or mistake before a covenant, or indeed any written contract, can be added to changing its terms. This ruling of the court was thereupon excepted to and assigned as error.

A close examination of the declaration and its amendments will show, first, that although brought on a...

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