Sanger v. Yellow Cab Co., Inc., No. 57785

CourtUnited States State Supreme Court of Missouri
Citation486 S.W.2d 477
PartiesCarl A. SANGER and Genevieve J. Sanger, Respondents, v. YELLOW CAB COMPANY, INC., a Corporation, Appellant.
Docket NumberNo. 57785
Decision Date13 November 1972

Page 477

486 S.W.2d 477
Carl A. SANGER and Genevieve J. Sanger, Respondents,
YELLOW CAB COMPANY, INC., a Corporation, Appellant.
No. 57785.
Supreme Court of Missouri, En Banc.
Nov. 13, 1972.

Page 478

Stanley I. Dale, Whitney W. Potter, St. Joseph, for respondents.

Price Shoemaker and Robert D. Colley, St. Joseph, Divid Collins, Hadley E. Grimm, Collins & Grimm, Macon, for appellant.

SEILER, Judge.

This is an action for personal injuries suffered by Carl Sanger in an automobile collision. A verdict and judgment for $4,500 were entered for plaintiff, and defendant appeals. The Missouri Court of Appeals, Kansas City District, affirmed the decision of the trial court, and on motion of defendant, we ordered the case transferred here, Sec. 10, Art. V, Constitution of Missouri, V.A.M.S.

The issue in this case is whether plaintiff's claim is barred by the general release he executed, or is the release null and void by reason of mutual mistake as to plaintiff's injuries. It is important to note plaintiff makes no claim of fraud, overreaching, or misrepresentation and sought no equitable relief by way of rescission or reformation. We hold plaintiff is barred by the release and reverse the judgment.

On September 18, 1969 in St. Joseph, Missouri, plaintiff was seated in his parked car when it was struck by defendant's taxicab. Plaintiff said at the scene he was nervous but did not think he was injured. Plaintiff was anxious to get his car fixed because he was going on vacation in two weeks, and the following day he obtained a repair estimate. After someone called him from the office of defendant's lawyer, plaintiff went to the office on Saturday morning, September 20, 1969, and reached an agreement concerning the cost of repairs ($421.39) and the amount his wife would have to expend for cab fare until the car was fixed ($15.00). Plaintiff testified there was no discussion regarding any personal injuries except that he described his 'funny feelings'. Defendant gave plaintiff a draft for $436.39, and plaintiff signed a general release. Plaintiff denied knowing that the paper he signed was a release, saying that he thought it was a receipt. Plaintiff had been in an earlier accident where a settlement was made and

Page 479

knew he signed a release on that occasion. Plaintiff admitted he could read and write.

Defendant's counsel testified, '. . . I asked if he was injured. He said he had some stiffness in his left shoulder and in his back, shook up. I asked if he had been to a doctor and he said no. I asked if he was going to a doctor, and he said no, 'not unless it gets worse.' I asked him if he wanted to go ahead and settle this claim, and he indicated he did because he had a vacation coming up and wanted his car fixed . . . I did inform him once payment was made the matter would be closed, he couldn't later get any more money . . .' Plaintiff remarked when he accepted the draft from the lawyer, 'I am real stiff and sore but I guess I will live.' After the accident, plaintiff's wife asked him daily if he was injured and he kept complaining of being 'shook up and stiff'. She further testified that on Saturday morning, before he went to the attorney's office, he complained of still being shook up and stiff, and that she tried to get him to go to the doctor but he replied, 'No. I will probably be all right.'

Plaintiff testified his pain became progressively worse from Sunday afternoon until Saturday, September 27, 1969, when he went to see a doctor. The doctor's ultimate diagnosis was an accident aggravated pre-existing hypertrophic osteoarthritic condition. At the time of the trial the doctor did not know whether plaintiff would suffer any permanent injury from the accident.

A few weeks after realizing he was hurt worse than he thought, plaintiff returned to defendant's lawyer, where he was given some medical report forms to have filled out. Later plaintiff received a letter from defendant stating that they were of the opinion that he had signed a valid release and consequently would not make any additional payment. Defendant's attorney testified that at the time the release was signed he took plaintiff at his word, that he was stiff and sore and it would work out, that as far as what plaintiff told him the injury was inconsequential, that ordinarily the company did not pay for loss of use, 'But when he indicated to me he was injured I didn't want to argue with him about fifteen dollars, and I added it on', that normally if a man is injured he also has the man's wife sign any release to release her loss of services claim, but did not in this case.

The portion of the release material to the issue under consideration reads as follows:




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  • Williams v. Glash, No. C-8786
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    • Supreme Court of Texas
    • May 2, 1990
    ...Inc., 319 Mass. 386, 65 N.E.2d 918 (1946); Pearson v. Weaver, 252 Miss. 724, 173 So.2d 666, 669 (1965); Sanger v. Yellow Cab Co., 486 S.W.2d 477 (Mo.1972); Sibson v. Farmers Ins. Group, 88 Nev. 417, 498 P.2d 1331 (1972); Maltais v. National Grange Mut. Ins. Co., 118 N.H. 318, 386 A.2d 1264 ......
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  • Briggs v. Wyoming Nat. Bank of Casper, Nos. 91-106
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    ...was something more than mere reliance upon the statements of another as to its contents...." Sanger v. Yellow Cab Co., Inc., Mo.1972, 486 S.W.2d 477, Laird v. Laird, 597 P.2d 463, 467 (Wyo.1979). See also First State Bank of Wheatland v. American National Bank, 808 P.2d 804 (Wyo.1991). Mr. ......
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    • March 6, 2012 required; otherwise, a party is presumed to know what he signed and that he agreed to it. See Sanger v. Yellow Cab Co., Inc., 486 S.W.2d 477, 481 (Mo. banc 1972). The idea is that if a contract provision is so substantively unfair that “no man in his senses” would agree to it, only decep......
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