Shawneetown Feed & Seed Co. v. Ford, 33895

Decision Date27 April 1971
Docket NumberNo. 33895,33895
Citation468 S.W.2d 54
PartiesSHAWNEETOWN FEED AND SEED COMPANY, a corporation, Plaintiff-Appellant, v. R. N. Ford and Clara Marie Ford (Mrs. R. N. Ford), Defendants-Respondents.
CourtMissouri Court of Appeals

Buerkle & Lowes, Jackson, for plaintiff-appellant.

Kenneth W. Shrum, Marble Hill, for defendants-respondents.

WOLFE, Judge.

This is an action brought on an account owing for seed corn against R. N. Ford who operated a combination grocery, feed and grain store. His wife, Clara Marie Ford, was joined as a party defendant on the theory that she was a partner in the business. A jury was waived and the trial was to the court. At the close of plaintiff's case the court sustained a motion to dismiss as to Mrs. Ford. Defendants rested their case without putting on any evidence and a judgment of $1,000 with interest was entered against R. N. Ford. The plaintiff corporation appealed, contending that the judgment should have been entered against both defendants.

There is no question before us relating to the amount owing to the plaintiff for the grain purchased. The points raised by the plaintiff all relate to the court dismissing as to Clara Marie Ford. It is contended here as it was below that the plaintiff made a prima facie showing that Ford and his wife were partners in the operation of the store and that the judgment should have been entered against both of them and not against R. N. Ford alone.

The testimony given by the officers of plaintiff corporation was that they had an account under the name of Ford Grocery and that payment was made to them by check. Printed at the top of the checks was R. N. Ford Grocery and Feed and Grain. They did not know whether Mrs. Ford signed any of the checks they received, but she did sign some. Neither did they knew anything about the account that they were serving except that they carried it as Ford Grocery Company. No one testified that the defendants were partners in the operation of the store.

There was evidence that the Fords had a bank account at the Bollinger County Bank and another account at the Bank of Marble Hill, Missouri. Either party was authorized to sign checks on the accounts. A deposition of Mrs. Ford was offered in evidence by the plaintiff against interest. She stated in the deposition that both she and her husband had worked in the store together and that he kept the books. She did, however, occasionally write checks in payment of items delivered to the store. They both owned the store building and lived back of it until recent times when they moved to another house owned by both of them. She received no salary for her work but just worked 'to help out.' She drew upon the joint bank account for family expenses. The store had been closed prior to the time of trial but for about a year before it closed Mr. Ford had been working as a truck driver and Mrs. Ford was in the store most of the time.

In contending that the court erred in dismissing the action as to Mrs. Ford, it is first asserted that the existence of a partnership was not disputed. The plaintiff relies upon Civil Rule 55.16, V.A.M.R., which provides: 'When parties sue or are sued as a partnership, and the names of the partners are set forth in the petition or counterclaim, the existence of the partnership shall be deemed confessed unless it is denied by specific negative averment, which shall include such supporting particulars as are peculiarly within the pleader's knowledge.' We do not see how the rule aids the plaintiff's contention for the answer filed by the defendant states: '* * * Mrs. R. N. Ford, is not the owner, operator or partner or in any other way connected with Ford's Grocery Store or any other business in Bollinger County, Missouri.' And: '* * * Defendants state that Mrs. R. N. Ford is, in no way, an owner, operator or partner in Ford's Grocery Store, but that Mr. R. N. Ford is the sole and only owner, operator, and manager of Ford's Grocery Store which is located in Bollinger County, Missouri.' This quite adequately denies the partnership and put in issue the question of its existence.

It is next asserted that the evidence presented by plaintiff made prima facie proof of a partnership....

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9 cases
  • Grissum v. Reesman
    • United States
    • Missouri Supreme Court
    • 11 February 1974
    ...property, or 'helping out' in the conduct of a store (by a wife) is not sufficient proof of a partnership (Shawneetown Feed and Seed Co. v. Ford et al., 468 S.W.2d 54 (Mo.App.1971); that the supposed partners must have made a definite and specific agreement (Chapin v. Cherry, 243 Mo. 375, 1......
  • In re Asbury
    • United States
    • U.S. Bankruptcy Court — Western District of Missouri
    • 15 September 2010
    ...16 Grissum v. Reesman, 505 S.W.2d 81, 85 (Mo.1974). 17 Brotherton, 550 S.W.2d at 907; see also e.g. Shawneetown Feed & Seed Co. v. Ford, 468 S.W.2d 54, 56 (Mo.Ct.App.1971) ("This is particularly true in husband and wife cases, because the very nature of the relationship of the parties tends......
  • Sunkyong Intern., Inc. v. Anderson Land & Livestock Co., 86-1924
    • United States
    • U.S. Court of Appeals — Eighth Circuit
    • 29 October 1987
    ...the "very nature of the relationship of the parties tends to submerge adversity of individual interests." Shawneetown Feed & Seed Co. v. Ford, 468 S.W.2d 54, 56 (Mo.Ct.App.1971); see Fish v. Fish, 307 S.W.2d 46, 52 (Mo.Ct.App.1957) ("acts and circumstances between spouses may not have the s......
  • The Callaway Bank v. Ray
    • United States
    • U.S. Bankruptcy Court — Western District of Missouri
    • 13 September 2010
    ...16. Grissum v. Reesman, 505 S.W.2d 81, 85 (Mo. 1974). 17. Brotherton, 550 S.W. 2d at 907; see also e.g. Shawneetown Feed & Seed Co. v. Ford, 468 S.W.2d 54, 56 (Mo. Ct. App. 1971) ("This is particularly true in husband and wife cases, because the very nature of the relationship of the partie......
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