Sloan v. Taylor Machinery Co., 56131

CourtUnited States State Supreme Court of Mississippi
Writing for the CourtROY NOBLE LEE; WALKER
Citation501 So.2d 409
Parties106 Lab.Cas. P 55,703 Bobby SLOAN v. TAYLOR MACHINERY COMPANY, A Tennessee Corporation.
Docket NumberNo. 56131,56131
Decision Date14 January 1987

Gene Barton, Tupelo, for appellant.

Thomas A. Wicker, Holland, Ray & Upchurch, Tupelo, for appellee.


ROY NOBLE LEE, Presiding Justice, for the Court:

Bobby Sloan has appealed from a judgment entered in the Circuit Court of Lee County, Mississippi, in favor of Taylor Machinery Company, on a motion for summary judgment. The sole question presented is whether or not the lower court erred in granting the summary judgment on the ground that the one-year statute of limitations, Mississippi Code Annotated Sec. 15-1-29 (1972), as amended, bars a suit by an employee for breach of an employment contract.

Appellant was employed by the defendant in March, 1978, at its plant in Lee County, Mississippi. An affidavit in opposition to the motion for summary judgment executed by appellant states that on or about July 31, 1978, he was given an employee handbook at a company dinner. The complaint charges that appellant and appellee had a written agreement concerning employee/employer relations and that the employee handbook was the basis of the written agreement. Appellant charges in the complaint that he was terminated from his job in June, 1982, without any cause, in direct violation of the employee/employer contract.

The affidavit of appellant pertaining to the hiring and firing of appellant follows:

I was employed by Taylor Machinery Company in Tupelo, Mississippi. During the course of my regular employment, I was provided with an employee handbook by my employer, who is the Defendant in this lawsuit. A true copy of the employee handbook which I was provided is attached as Exhibit "A" to this my affidavit. I was given this handbook at company dinner and I continued to work with the Defendant after I received my employee handbook. I was given this handbook on or about July 31, 1978.

I was fired from my job at Taylor Machinery Company without cause and without any justification. I was properly doing my job with the Defendant at the time that I was fired and I was doing a good job.

My employer, who is the Defendant, fired me without a hearing and without first determining what the true facts were. My employer terminated me without any opportunity to discuss or review the termination before the termination became final. I was further terminated in a menner [sic] which lacked fairness, respect, or reason.

The affidavit does not state that a written agreement was made at the time of appellant's employment in March, 1978, and there is nothing to show a genuine issue of material fact as to whether or not a written contract was actually entered into at the time of the employment. We are of the opinion that the presentation of an employee handbook to appellant in July, 1978, after his employment in March, 1978, did not make the employment agreement a written contract.

Appellee relies upon Mississippi Code Annotated Sec. 15-1-29 (1972), as amended, which bars an action of employment on an oral employment contract, if not commenced within one (1) year next after the action accrued. That section follows:

Except as otherwise provided in the Uniform Commercial Code, actions on an open account or account stated not acknowledged in writing, signed by the debtor, and on any unwritten contract, express or implied, shall be commenced within three (3) years next after the cause of such action accrued, and not after, except that an action based on an unwritten contract of employment shall be commenced within one (1) year next after the cause of such action accrued, and not after.

Appellant asserts that the employee handbook is the written contract. He is not named in the instrument as a party thereto.

"[W]here a person is not named in the written contract and parol evidence is necessary to show the existence of the contractual relationship, the contract is unwritten insofar as that person is concerned and the limitations statute relating to written contracts is not applicable.

Baird & Warner, Inc. v. Addison Industrial Park, Inc., 70 Ill.App.3d 59, 26 Ill.Dec. 1, 14, 387 N.E.2d 831, 844 (1979). See Munsterman v. Illinois Agricultural Auditing Ass'n, 106 Ill.App.3d 237, 62 Ill.Dec 125, 127, 435 N.E.2d 923, 925 (1982); 3 A.L.R.2d 809, 818, Sec. 6 (1949) (Supp.1985).

"Any material fact which is missing in the writing and which is necessary to be supplied by parol in order to show that it...

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9 cases
  • Watkins v. United Parcel Service, Inc., Civ. A. No. J90-0620(W).
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 5th Circuit. Southern District of Mississippi
    • June 10, 1992
    ...defendant, company policy books or manuals, standing alone, do not create an employment contract, citing Sloan v. Taylor Machinery Co., 501 So.2d 409, 410-11 (Miss.1987) (employer handbook provided four months after commencement of employment did not transfer oral employment agreement into ......
  • Valle v. Johnson Controls World Services, Inc., Civil Action No. 1:95cv367GR.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 5th Circuit. Southern District of Mississippi
    • July 18, 1996
    ...the contract," the agreement would be "treated as an oral contract for statute of limitations purposes." Sloan v. Taylor Machinery Co., 501 So.2d 409, 411 (Miss.1987). In this case, however, parol evidence does not allow a reasonable determination regarding the precise length of time contem......
  • Cmty. Care Ctr. of Aberdeen v. Barrentine, 2014–IA–00436–SCT.
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Mississippi
    • March 26, 2015
    ...v. Belk Stores Servs., Inc., No. 1:07CV537–LG–JMR, 2009 WL 44204, at *3 (S.D.Miss. Jan. 6, 2009) (same).33 Sloan v. Taylor Mach. Co., 501 So.2d 409, 411 (Miss.1987).34 Bobbitt v. Orchard, Ltd., 603 So.2d 356, 361 (Miss.1992).35 Avery, Shanks & Waltman, Inc., 404 So.2d at 1037–38.36 White, 6......
  • Michael S. Fawer v. Evans, 92-FC-122
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Mississippi
    • December 2, 1993
    ...(N.D.Miss.1979) (action under 42 U.S.C. Sec. 1981 for employment discrimination applying Mississippi Law); Sloan v. Taylor Machinery Co., 501 So.2d 409 (Miss.1987) (action establishing employment contract where employee had no written contract but proved management gave him employee The wor......
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