Western Union Telegraph Co v. Brown, No. 159

CourtUnited States Supreme Court
Writing for the CourtDAY
Citation64 L.Ed. 803,253 U.S. 101,40 S.Ct. 460
Docket NumberNo. 159
Decision Date17 May 1920
PartiesWESTERN UNION TELEGRAPH CO. v. BROWN et al

253 U.S. 101
40 S.Ct. 460
64 L.Ed. 803
WESTERN UNION TELEGRAPH CO.

v.

BROWN et al.

No. 159.
Argued Jan. 20 and 21, 1920.
Decided May 17, 1920.

Page 102

Messrs. Beverly L. Hodghead, of San Francisco, Cal., and Rush Taggart and Francis Raymond Stark, both of New York City, for petitioner.

Mr. Samuel Poorman, Jr., of Los Angeles, Cal., for respondents.

[Argument of Counsel from page 102-103 intentionally omitted]

Page 103

Mr. Justice DAY delivered the opinion of the Court.

This is an action by Brown, executor of Lange, and Hastings to recover damages from the Western Union

Page 104

Telegraph Company for failure to deliver a message sent by Hastings and Lange to the Lyon County Bank, Yerington, Nev. A judgment was recevered against the telegraph company in the District Court, which was affirmed in the Circuit Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit. 248 Fed. 656, 160 C. C. A. 556. The case is here upon writ of certiorari.

Upon stipulation the case was tried in the District Court without a jury, and the court made findings from which it appears: On March 16, 1907, W. C. Pitt and W. T. Campbell entered into a contract with Hastings and Lange for the sale of 625,000 shares of the capital stock of the Kennedy Consolidated Gold Mining Company. In this contract it was stipulated that Pitt and Campbell agreed to sell and deliver to Hastings and Lange, who agreed to buy, take, and receive from them, 625,000 shares of the Kennedy Consolidated Gold Mining Company, upon the following terms and conditions: First. The total price to be paid for the shares of stock to be $75,000 in gold coin of the United States payable $7,500 on the execution of the agreement; $11,250 on or before the 1st day of May, 1907; and the like sum on or before the 5th of July, 1907, the 5th of September, 1907, the 5th of November, 1907, the 5th of January, 1908, and the 5th of March, 1908. It was agreed that immediately upon payment of the first-named sum Pitt and Campbell would deposit in escrow in and with the Lyon County Bank, of Yerington, Nev., certificates of stock indorsed in blank representing in the aggregate 625,00 shares of the capital stock of the mining company, and would thereupon enter into an escrow agreement with Hastings and Lange and the bank, under which agreement the bank should hold the shares of stock to be delivered to Hastings and Lange upon the payment by them of the final sum provided for, and the bank was constituted the agent of Pitt and Campbell for the purpose of receiving the payments

Page 105

under the agreement, and it was further agreed that in event of default by Hastings and Lange the bank should be authorized, under the terms of such deposit in escrow, to deliver all the shares of stock so deposited with it to Pitt and Campbell, and all payments theretofore made by Hastings and Lange should be forfeited to Pitt and Campbell, and that thereupon all rights of each of the parties should forever cease and terminate. Hastings and Lange paid to Pitt and Campbell the initial sum of $7,500, and Pitt and Campbell deposited in escrow with the Lyon County Bank certificates of stock representing 625,000 shares of the stock of the mining company properly indorsed, and the bank received said certificates in escrow and held the same in accordance with the contract. After the execution of the contract Hastings and Lange arranged with the bank to treat drafts that they might send it in partial payment as gold coin, and to pay the amount of such drafts in gold coin to Pitt and Campbell under said contract; that for the purpose of making the payment mentioned in the contract which became due on or before May 1, 1907, Hastings and Lange on April 27, 1907, sent by mail from Oakland, Cal., to the Lyon County Bank, at Yerington, Nev., a draft for the sum of $11,250 United States gold coin, payable to the order of the bank; that the draft was received by the bank at Yerington, Nev., on April 30, 1907, some time between 8:30 a. m., the time the bank opened for business, and 9 o'clock a. m. of that day; that on April 29, 1907, before the message hereinafter mentioned was delivered to the telegraph company, Hastings and Lange were informed and believed that the stock of the mining company was of little or no value, and upon obtaining such information they determined to make no further payments on their contract with Pitt and Campbell, and to abandon their rights in and to said stock, and to withdraw from the transaction with Pitt and Campbell. It is further found

Page 106

that on the evening of April 29, 1907, plaintiffs called at the office of the defendant in Oakland, Cal., and requested the agent in charge to telegraph the Lyon County Bank at Yerington, Nev., as follows:

'Oakland, April 29, 1907.

'Lyon County Bank, Yerington, Nevada.

'Draft mailed you Saturday under mistake. Do not pay any sum to Pitt and Campbell. Return draft. Letter follows.

'Hastings and Lange.'

Hastings and Lange stated to the agent of the telegraph company that it was necessary that the message be delivered to the bank before banking hours on the following morning, that is, before it opened for business on the 30th day of April, 1907, and desired to know of the agent in what manner they could be absolutely assured that the message would be so delivered, stating to the agent that they had a contract for the purchase of certain shares of stock of a mining company, and that payment under the contract was required to be made by them on or before May 1, 1907, to Pitt and Campbell through the bank, and that in default thereof the contract to purchase the stock would by its terms be forfeited, and the right of the parties thereto would cease and terminate; that for the purpose of making the payment they had mailed...

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37 practice notes
  • Portner v. Tanner, 1060
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Wyoming
    • 17 Julio 1923
    ...366; Clyde Bank & E. S. Co. v. Castaneda, (1905) A. C. 6; Stewart v. Griffith, 217 U.S. 323, 54 L. ed. 782; Western Union Co. v. Brown, 253 U.S. 101, 64 L. ed. 804; Mead v. Wheeler, 13 N.H. 351; Gammon v. Howe, 14 Maine, 250; Maxwell v. Allen, 78 Maine 32.) In an action by vendor for an ins......
  • Shaughnessy v. Eidsmo, No. 34221.
    • United States
    • Supreme Court of Minnesota (US)
    • 7 Junio 1946
    ...Berkner v. Segal, 168 Minn. 62, 64, 209 N.W. 536, 537; Martin v. Walker, 84 Minn. 8, 9, 86 N.W. 467, 468; Western Union Tel. Co. v. Brown, 253 U.S. 101, 110, 40 S.Ct. 460, 462, 64 L.Ed. 803, 807; Richanbach v. Ruby, 127 Or. 612, 271 P. 600, 61 A.L.R. 1441; Hughes v. Antill, 23 Pa.Super. 290......
  • Shaughnessy v. Eidsmo, No. 34221.
    • United States
    • Supreme Court of Minnesota (US)
    • 7 Junio 1946
    ...Berkner v. Segal, 168 Minn. 62, 64, 209 N.W. 536, 537;Martin v. Walker, 84 Minn. 8, 9, 86 N.W. 467, 468;Western Union Tel. Co. v. Brown, 253 U.S. 101, 110, 40 S.Ct. 460, 462, 64 L.Ed. 803, 807;Richanbach v. Ruby, 127 Or. 612,271 P. 660,61 A.L.R. 1441;Hughes v. Antill, 23 Pa.Super. 290; 49 A......
  • Albion Elevator Co. v. Chicago & N.W. Transp. Co., No. 58020
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Iowa
    • 25 Mayo 1977
    ...of the later Act * * *, can prevail against what we understand to be the meaning of the words. * * *." 253 U.S. at 100, 40 S.Ct. at 504, 64 L.Ed. at 803. (Emphasis In Thompson v. H. Rouw Co., 237 S.W.2d 662, 665 (Tex.Civ.App.1951), the court surveyed the legislative and judicial history of ......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
37 cases
  • Portner v. Tanner, 1060
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Wyoming
    • 17 Julio 1923
    ...366; Clyde Bank & E. S. Co. v. Castaneda, (1905) A. C. 6; Stewart v. Griffith, 217 U.S. 323, 54 L. ed. 782; Western Union Co. v. Brown, 253 U.S. 101, 64 L. ed. 804; Mead v. Wheeler, 13 N.H. 351; Gammon v. Howe, 14 Maine, 250; Maxwell v. Allen, 78 Maine 32.) In an action by vendor for an ins......
  • Shaughnessy v. Eidsmo, No. 34221.
    • United States
    • Supreme Court of Minnesota (US)
    • 7 Junio 1946
    ...Berkner v. Segal, 168 Minn. 62, 64, 209 N.W. 536, 537; Martin v. Walker, 84 Minn. 8, 9, 86 N.W. 467, 468; Western Union Tel. Co. v. Brown, 253 U.S. 101, 110, 40 S.Ct. 460, 462, 64 L.Ed. 803, 807; Richanbach v. Ruby, 127 Or. 612, 271 P. 600, 61 A.L.R. 1441; Hughes v. Antill, 23 Pa.Super. 290......
  • Shaughnessy v. Eidsmo, No. 34221.
    • United States
    • Supreme Court of Minnesota (US)
    • 7 Junio 1946
    ...Berkner v. Segal, 168 Minn. 62, 64, 209 N.W. 536, 537;Martin v. Walker, 84 Minn. 8, 9, 86 N.W. 467, 468;Western Union Tel. Co. v. Brown, 253 U.S. 101, 110, 40 S.Ct. 460, 462, 64 L.Ed. 803, 807;Richanbach v. Ruby, 127 Or. 612,271 P. 660,61 A.L.R. 1441;Hughes v. Antill, 23 Pa.Super. 290; 49 A......
  • Albion Elevator Co. v. Chicago & N.W. Transp. Co., No. 58020
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Iowa
    • 25 Mayo 1977
    ...of the later Act * * *, can prevail against what we understand to be the meaning of the words. * * *." 253 U.S. at 100, 40 S.Ct. at 504, 64 L.Ed. at 803. (Emphasis In Thompson v. H. Rouw Co., 237 S.W.2d 662, 665 (Tex.Civ.App.1951), the court surveyed the legislative and judicial history of ......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

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