Norman v. Hopper

Decision Date20 April 1905
Citation80 P. 551,38 Wash. 415
PartiesNORMAN v. HOPPER et al.
CourtWashington Supreme Court

Appeal from Superior Court, Spokane County; George W. Belt, Judge.

Action by Sidney Norman against A. D. Hopper and another. From a judgment for plaintiff, defendants appeal. Affirmed.

W. J. Thayer, for appellants.

Graves & Graves, for respondent.

PER CURIAM.

While the complaint in this case contains three causes of action they all relate to the same general transaction. The substance of that transaction is that some time in the month of May or June, 1902, the defendants Hopper and Aldrich (the former the president and treasurer of the Spokane Falls Gaslight Company, and the latter the secretary of the same company) agreed with the plaintiff that, if he would obtain a purchaser for all the property of the gas company for the sum of $375,000, the defendants would pay him a commission in the sum of $5,000 for his services; that thereafter the plaintiff secured purchasers for said property, who were ready, able, and willing to purchase the same for the sum of $365,000, and to pay in addition thereto one half of plaintiff's said commission, and the defendants thereupon agreed to sell said property at said price, and to pay the other half of plaintiff's said commission; that the defendants failed and refused to complete said sale or to carry out said agreement, to the plaintiff's damage in the sum of $5,000. The defendants answered separately; the answers being general denials except as to the corporate existence of the gas company. A judgment was entered in the court below on a verdict in favor of the plaintiff in the sum of $2,500, and from such judgment the defendants appeal.

A multitude of errors are assigned and discussed in the appellants' brief under different headings and subheadings. A separate discussion of each assignment would extend this opinion to an inordinate length, without any corresponding benefit. The difference between counsel seems to arise out of a misunderstanding as to the terms of the agreement which the parties entered into, as the case itself involved the application of no doubtful principles of law. What was the undertaking of the respondent, and what constituted a performance of his contract? His contention is that he undertook to find a purchaser ready, able, and willing to purchase the property of the gas company for the sum of $365,000, and nothing more, and that he fully performed his agreement in that regard. On the other hand the appellants contend that his undertaking was not only that he should find a purchaser ready, able, and willing to take the property upon the terms agreed upon, but that all the stockholders of the gas company should ratify the sale. If the contention of the respondent is the correct one, there would seem little, if any, doubt that he was entitled to a verdict. If the contention of the appellants is correct, it is equally clear that the judgment should have been in their favor. We think the testimony was ample to sustain the claim of the respondent, and that, in the absence of some other error in the record, the judgment should be affirmed. On the 10th day of July, 1902, through the agency of the respondent, the appellant Hopper, as party of the first part, and Robert E. Strahorn and Jay P. Graves, as parties of the second part, entered into an agreement relating to the sale of the property of the gas company. This agreement fixed the terms and conditions of the sale together with the purchase price to be paid and the time and manner of payment, but the agreement was optional in a measure. It contained a provision that it should not be binding until ratified by all the stockholders of the gas company, and that the second parties assumed no personal liability in regard thereto, and should not be deemed to render themselves individually liable for a failure to carry it out.

The appellants' first contention is that the respondent only found purchasers who entered into an optional contract, and therefore he cannot recover, under numerous decisions of this and other courts. This contention is based upon the optional agreement which was received in evidence, and upon the answer of the respondent to a single interrogatory propounded to him, and not upon the entire record. Taking the testimony as a whole, it clearly shows that the respondent not only found purchasers who entered into an optional contract, but also that the purchasers found were ready, able, and willing to perform their part of the optional agreement. This contention will therefore be passed without further notice, as it finds no support in the record, taken as an entirety.

In this connection the appellants requested the following instruction: 'If you believe from the evidence that there was no agreement or offer to purchase the property of the Spokane Falls Gaslight Company by any purchasers secured by the plaintiff, other than that contained in the writing introduced in evidence dated July 10, 1902, and signed by A D. Hopper and Robert E. Strahorn and Jay P. Graves, then your verdict will be for ...

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14 cases
  • Bloom v. Christensen
    • United States
    • Washington Supreme Court
    • June 10, 1943
    ...from those stipulated in the brokerage agreement. Barnes v. German Savings & Loan Society, 21 Wash. 448, 58 P. 569; Norman v. Hopper, 38 Wash. 415, 80 P. 551; Lawler v. Armstrong, 53 Wash. 664, 102 P. Philips & Co. v. Langlow, 55 Wash. 385, 104 P. 610; Godefroy v. Hupp, 93 Wash. 371, 160 P.......
  • Mogelberg v. Calhoun
    • United States
    • Washington Supreme Court
    • February 16, 1917
    ... ... In ... support of this contention, we are cited to the decisions of ... this court in Norman v. Hopper, 38 Wash. 415, 80 P ... 551, Chlopeck v. Chlopeck, 47 Wash. 256, 91 P. 966, ... and Hightower v. Union Savings & Trust ... ...
  • Lawler v. Armstrong
    • United States
    • Washington Supreme Court
    • June 26, 1909
    ...he contracted for property as a principal, the community could not be heard to deny liability upon such a ground. In Norman v. Hopper, 38 Wash. 415, 420, 80 P. 551, 552, speaking to the question as to when a broker's right to commission accrues, it is said: 'He further suggests that the agr......
  • Best v. Kelley
    • United States
    • Washington Supreme Court
    • January 31, 1945
    ... ... Respondent ... also relies strongly upon the case of Norman v ... Hopper, 38 Wash. 415, 80 P. 551, where it appeared that ... two officers of a corporation listed the corporation's ... ...
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