Stier v. Smith

CourtUnited States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (5th Circuit)
Citation473 F.2d 1205
Docket NumberNo. 72-1729.,72-1729.
PartiesKurt L. STIER and Kurt L. Stier, Trustee for General Pools Corporation Profit Sharing Trust, Plaintiffs-Appellants, v. Floyd SMITH, Defendant-Appellee.
Decision Date09 February 1973

473 F.2d 1205 (1973)

Kurt L. STIER and Kurt L. Stier, Trustee for General Pools Corporation Profit Sharing Trust, Plaintiffs-Appellants,
Floyd SMITH, Defendant-Appellee.

No. 72-1729.

United States Court of Appeals, Fifth Circuit.

February 9, 1973.

473 F.2d 1206

Rodney D. Moore, Frank G. Newman, Dallas, Tex., for plaintiffs-appellants.

William F. Alexander, John H. Cochran, Dallas, Tex., for defendant-appellee.

Before JOHN R. BROWN, Chief Judge, and THORNBERRY and MORGAN, Circuit Judges.

JOHN R. BROWN, Chief Judge:

In this action under Rule X-10b-5,1 the Plaintiff-appellant complains that he was fraudulently induced to buy stock in Mickey Mantle's Country Cookin', Inc.

473 F.2d 1207
The stock is now worthless. The trial Judge found that Plaintiff's claim of misrepresentations by the Defendant was not supported by credible evidence and Plaintiff does not challenge this finding on appeal. The sins of the Defendant against Rule 10b-5 which are before the Court on appeal are ones of omission rather than commission. The trial Judge specifically found that there were 14 facts which the Defendant failed to disclose to the Plaintiff. However, in view of the sophistication and financial acumen of the Plaintiff, his knowledge of the fact that a registration statement had been filed and a prospectus was available upon his request, and his failure to look further into the matter all led the trial Court to conclude that Defendant was not in violation of 10b-5

We choose not to take issue with the finding that Appellant was a sophisticated investor.2 We hold that Appellant was entitled to judgment as a matter of law because sophisticated investors, like all others, are entitled to the truth.

Mickey Mantle's Country Cookin', Inc. was in 1969, one of a number of attempts to capitalize on both the concept of franchising and the modern passion of Americans to dine out at moderately-priced fast service restaurants. The Appellant, himself a franchiser of swimming pool construction companies, first met the defendant Smith and Mickey Mantle's in connection with the sale of a swimming pool intended as a gift to Mickey Mantle, the famous baseball player. At the time, Appellee was the president and a director of Mickey Mantle's Country Cookin', Inc.3 Negotiations4 took place over a period of months in the first half of 1969 which culminated in the purchase by Kurt L. Stier of a total of 5000 shares of Country Cookin' from appellee Smith, at $10 per share, or $50,000 altogether. Some of the shares were purchased for Mr. Stier individually, and the remainder were bought by him in his capacity as trustee for an Illinois based profit sharing trust affiliated with his swimming pool company.

The exact terms of the sale are hotly disputed. The Plaintiff-appellant contended that although he delivered fully negotiable cashier's checks to Smith on June 27, 1969, the sale was not to be complete until (i) a public offering of the shares was completed the following month, and (ii) there was a rise in market value of the shares to between $20 and $30 per share, and (iii) Stier further contended that some agreement existed whereby Smith would repurchase the shares should the expected rise in market price fail to materialize.5 Smith contends that, to the contrary, no repurchase agreement existed and the sale was complete when Stier handed over the cashier's checks on June 27, 1969.

Smith did concede at the trial, and the District Court found, that Appellee promised to hold the checks until a public offering of the shares at $15 per share was accomplished. The District Court found and concluded however that events taking place after the consummation of the sale—which was how he

473 F.2d 1208
characterized the delivery of the checks6 —were not material to the sale of the stock.7 The public offering was made on July 11, 1969. Within a short time it proved to be a disaster. Finding that "Plaintiff Stier did not make reasonable investigations to discover the information claimed omitted by defendant," and that "Plaintiff relied on his own investigations, appraisals and sources of information in the purchase of the 5,000 shares of letter common stock from the defendant, and he had adequate access to the information he thought at the time of the sale was necessary for him to make a decision to purchase the stock,"8 the trial Court entered judgment for Appellee

We do not dispute the finding that Appellant had adequate access to the information "he thought at the time of the sale was necessary for him to make a decision." (Emphasis added). We conclude however that where defendant—an insider—fails to make disclosure of information by which plaintiff "would have been influenced to act differently than he did if the defendant had disclosed to him the undisclosed fact", see List v. Fashion Park, Inc., 2 Cir., 1965, 340 F.2d 457, cert. denied, List v. Lerner, 382 U.S. 811, 86 S.Ct. 23, 15 L.Ed.2d 60, he cannot hide behind the defense that plaintiff didn't appear to want the information. Stated in its simplest form, when defendant fails to disclose information, the law will presume that plaintiff would have wanted to know the information if he had an inkling of its existence.9

We should always be wary of holding that a purchaser of securities, who deals with the corporate insider, could have found out omitted material facts by examining the corporate books or undertaking other extensive investigations. To do so is to allow the insider to present prospective purchasers with a mountain of information which they cannot possibly...

To continue reading

Request your trial
25 cases
  • Dupuy v. Dupuy, 76-2667
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (5th Circuit)
    • May 9, 1977
    ...1971, 402 U.S. 988, 91 S.Ct. 1660, 29 L.Ed.2d 153, rehearing denied, 404 U.S. 874, 92 S.Ct. 26, 30 L.Ed.2d 120.17 But see Stier v. Smith, 5 Cir. 1973, 473 F.2d 1205, which did not examine the diligence of a plaintiff who had been induced to purchase stock from a corporate insider. The Court......
  • Fox v. Kane-Miller Corp., Civ. No. 71-600-K.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 4th Circuit. United States District Court (Maryland)
    • May 30, 1975
    ...available the same among his corporate books or other bulky compilations so as, in effect, to bury the same. See Stier v. Smith, 473 F.2d 1205, 1208 (5th Cir. 1973); Dale v. Rosenfeld, 229 F.2d 855 (2d Cir. 1956). Pertinent also is Chief Judge Brown's observation in Stier, supra at 1208, th......
  • Holmes v. Bateson, Civ. A. No. 5116.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 1st Circuit. United States District Courts. 1st Circuit. District of Rhode Island
    • August 26, 1977 409-10. It is no answer to contend that the Estate representatives simply failed to ask the right questions. See Stier v. Smith, 473 F.2d 1205, 1208 (5th Cir. 1973). 4. LIABILITY OF THE CORPORATION, BATESON and The Corporation negotiated with the Estate for the purchase of said stock thr......
  • Brown v. Dean Witter Reynolds, Inc., 84-6701-Civ-Gonzalez.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 11th Circuit. United States District Courts. 11th Circuit. Southern District of Florida
    • January 22, 1985
    ...compels arbitration of future controversies without any bargaining on the question of dispute resolution. Id. (citing Stier v. Smith, 473 F.2d 1205 (5th Cir.1973)). Distinguishable from this situation and hence excepted from the doctrine are agreements between individuals who Congress did n......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

VLEX uses login cookies to provide you with a better browsing experience. If you click on 'Accept' or continue browsing this site we consider that you accept our cookie policy. ACCEPT