Radio Electronics Co. v. Radio Corp. of America, 386

CourtUnited States State Supreme Court of North Carolina
Citation92 S.E.2d 664,244 N.C. 114
Docket NumberNo. 386,386
PartiesRADIO ELECTRONICS COMPANY, v. RADIO CORP. OF AMERICA
Decision Date09 May 1956

Spry, White & Hamrick, Winston-Salem, for plaintiff, appellant.

Deal, Hutchins & Minor, Winston-Salem, for defendant, appellee.

BOBBITT, Justice.

If the contract is illegal, either at common law or by reason of statutory provisions relating to monopolies and trusts, G.S. § 75-1 et seq., plaintiff cannot recover damages for the breach thereof. Florsheim Shoe Co. v. Leader Department Store, 212 N.C. 75, 193 S.E. 9; Standard Fashion Co. v. Grant, 165 N.C. 453, 81 S.E. 606. In the cited cases, the contract, in direct violation of G.S. § 75-5(2), prohibited the merchant from selling competitive products of other manufacturers.

The oral contract as alleged herein contains no express provision of this character. Nor does it contain any express provision prohibiting plaintiff from purchasing similar products from defendant's competitors. Lewis v. Archbell, 199 N.C. 205, 154 S.E. 11. We need not consider whether the terms of the oral contract as alleged imply an obligation on the part of plaintiff to deal in defendant's said products to the exclusion of those of defendant's competitors.

The oral contract as alleged prohibits defendant from making any sale or distribution of its said products in North Carolina other than to and through plaintiff as exclusive distributor in the territory.

G.S. § 75-4, in pertinent part, provides:

'No contract or agreement hereafter made, limiting the rights of any person to do business anywhere in the State of North Carolina shall be enforceable unless such agreement is in writing duly signed by the party who agrees not to enter into any such business within such territory.'

G.S. § 75-4 was applied in Maola Ice Cream Co. of North Carolina, Inc., v. Maola Milk & Ice Cream Co., 238 N.C. 317, 77 S.E.2d 910. Reference was made to G.S. § 75-4 in Sonotone Corp. v. Baldwin, 227 N.C. 387, 42 S.E.2d 352. No other case in which G.S. § 75-4 was considered has come to our attention.

The question is not whether the oral contract as alleged herein is void as an unreasonable restraint of trade, but whether it is void and unenforceable by reason of the provisions of G.S. § 75-4. The General Assembly has declared that no contract whereby a person limits and restricts his legal right to do business in the State shall be valid and enforceable unless in writing and signed by the party so...

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8 cases
  • Dealers Supply Co., Inc. v. Cheil Industries, Inc.
    • United States
    • U.S. District Court — Middle District of North Carolina
    • December 13, 2004
    ...this single channel, is void unless the party so limited or restricted agrees thereto in writing." Radio Elecs. Co. v. Radio Corp. of America, 244 N.C. 114, 117, 92 S.E.2d 664, 666 (1956). As Dealers' complaint alleges it was orally given exclusive rights to and sell Staron within the state......
  • Surratt v. Brown, 15 CVS 1551
    • United States
    • Superior Court of North Carolina
    • July 27, 2015
    ...Ashley Furniture Indus. v. Sangiacomo, N.A., 187 F.3d 363, 378 (4th Cir. 1999); see also, e.g., Radio Elecs. Co. v. Radio Corp. of Am., 244 N.C. 114, 117, 92 S.E.2d 664, 666 (1956). {30} Defendants contend that the second agreement substantially limits their right to do business within the ......
  • Ashley Furniture Indus. v. Sangiacomon Limited
    • United States
    • U.S. Court of Appeals — Fourth Circuit
    • May 18, 1999
    ...agreements between suppliers and distributors prohibiting the suppliers from using other distributors, see, e.g., Radio Elecs. Co. v. No. 386, 92 S.E.2d 664, 666-67 (N.C. 1956). The provision has never been applied to an agreement like the one at issue More generally, North Carolina courts ......
  • York v. Golden Poultry Co., Inc., 5:94-CV-45-H2.
    • United States
    • U.S. District Court — Eastern District of North Carolina
    • April 6, 1995
    ...reassert their argument that the contract must be in writing to be enforceable, relying again on the case of Radio Electronics Co. v. Radio Corp., 244 N.C. 114, 92 S.E.2d 664 (1956). The oral contract in question allegedly requires the defendants to pay a commission to York on whatever poul......
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