Wood v. James B. Nutter & Co.

Decision Date10 July 1967
Docket NumberNo. 52407,No. 2,52407,2
CourtMissouri Supreme Court
PartiesCharles H. WOOD, Appellant, v. JAMES B. NUTTER & COMPANY, a Corporation, Respondent

John J. Alder, Alder, Morrison & Rixner, Kansas City, for appellant.

Frank P. Sebree, Shook, Hardy, Ottman, Mitchell & Bacon, Kansas City, for respondent.


This is an appeal by plaintiff Charles H. Wood from a summary judgment entered on his cause of action which is based upon breach of an alleged oral employment contract.

The record on appeal consists of pleadings, interrogatories, depositions, exhibits, and affidavits. Plaintiff contends the trial court erred in entering summary judgment because substantial, material issues of fact remain in the case and defendant is not shown 'by unassailable proof to be entitled thereto as a matter of law.' S.Ct. Rule 74.04(h), V.A.M.R.; Maddock v. Lewis, Mo.Sup., 386 S.W.2d 406, 408--409(1). We 'view the record on summary judgment in the light most favorable to the party against whom the judgment is rendered.' Cooper v. Finke, Mo.Sup., 376 S.W.2d 225, 228(2).

According to plaintiff's evidence: Plaintiff is an accountant specializing in mortgage servicing and accounting. Defendant is a mortgage loan broker. In December, 1960, plaintiff discussed employment with two officers of defendant. They entered into an oral employment agreement whereby plaintiff agreed to install his systems of mortgage servicing and accounting and defendant agreed to pay him $600 per month plus 'one-third of the net profit of James B. Nutter and Company, derived from its servicing operation.'

Defendant describes its whole operation as follows: 'The defendant James B. Nutter and Company is a mortgage loan broker making loans to persons mostly on the security of single-family residences. Defendant in turn sells the loans to permanent investors such as savings and loan associations, insurance companies and savings banks. Defendant's income comes from four sources:

'(a) Loan Commissions. A loan commission is paid to defendant by someone purchasing a house so that the purchaser can obtain a real estate loan from defendant.

'(b) Loan Discounts. A loan discount is paid to defendant by the seller of the house in order to induce defendant to make the loan to the purchaser. This discount is offset, at least in part, by the discount which defendant has to pay to the permanent investor when defendant sells the loan to the permanent investor.

'(c) Interest Income. Interest on each loan made by defendant is received by defendant during the time that it owns the loan (that is to say, between the time defendant makes the loan and the time the loan is sold to a permanent investor). This interest income is offset in part by the interest expense which defendant pays to commercial banks in order to obtain money to make the loan.

'(d) Servicing Fees. Defendant receives servicing fees paid monthly by permanent investors in all cases where defendant handles the collection and servicing of the loan after the permanent investor has purchased it.

'The servicing of a loan includes the collection of the proceeds of a loan, the remitting of the proceeds of the loan to the investor who owns it, the taking of steps to protect the loan and the real estate that secures it, the collection and escrow of money for taxes and insurance, and the paying of the taxes and insurance premiums on real estate as they come due.'

Plaintiff started to work December 7, 1960, and shortly thereafter became Treasurer of the company. He terminated his employment January 8, 1965. He filed suit March 19, 1965.

Defendant first contends the trial court properly entered summary judgment 'because the oral agreement which plaintiff claims to have entered into with defendant is too vague, indefinite and uncertain to be enforced.' Plaintiff testified in his deposition that when the oral agreement was made he and defendant's officers did not discuss 'how the question of servicing profit was going to be arrived at.' He also made several admissions indicating an inability to calculate net profits from defendant's servicing operation. According to the employment agreement, plaintiff was to be paid one-third of the net profit derived from the servicing operation, which is but one of four sources of defendant's income. Plaintiff's problem arose when he was asked to allocate defendant's expenses between the servicing operation and the other three operations of the company in order to determine the net profit of the servicing operation. His problem became more pronounced when, on January 25, 1966, defendant filed a motion to stay all discovery on the part of plaintiff and the motion was, on February 9, 1966, sustained by the trial court. (See S.Ct. Rule 58.01, V.A.M.R.)

On May 26, 1966, defendant filed its Motion for Summary Judgment with supporting affidavits. Thereafter, plaintiff filed his suggestions in opposition. Attached thereto is an affidavit, personally sworn to by plaintiff, in which he makes the following statements:

'3. He was and is personally familiar with the keeping of the records, the approximate time consumed by various employees, their pay, the cost of managing and operating the department and that if given an opportunity to examine the books of the company personally and with the possible assistance of others, within two to four weeks he could arrive at a fair and reasonable amount of money or profit that was made by his operation of the servicing department for the years in question.

'4. At no time has he said nor believed that it was wholly impossible to reach or compose such figures, but only that he could not do it...

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12 cases
  • Pagan v. City of Kennett
    • United States
    • Missouri Court of Appeals
    • April 2, 1968
    ...whom the motion was filed and the judgment was rendered, and to accord to such party the benefit of every doubt. Wood v. James B. Nutter & Co., Mo., 416 S.W.2d 635, 636(1); Campbell v. Stout, Mo.App., 408 S.W.2d 585, 588(3); Gasen's Drug Stores, Inc. v. Jones Enterprises, Inc., Mo.App., 388......
  • Pitman Mfg. Co. v. Centropolis Transfer Co.
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    • Missouri Supreme Court
    • December 14, 1970
    ...Mo.Sup., 447 S.W.2d 558(3); Mound Rose Cornice & S. M. Wks. v. H. Kalicak Const. Co., Mo.App., 454 S.W.2d 603(7); Wood v. James B. Nutter & Co., Mo.Sup., 416 S.W.2d 635(3); E. O. Dorsch Elec. Co. v. Knickerbocker Const. Co., supra, 417 S.W.2d, l.c. Judgment reversed and cause remanded. WELB......
  • Otto v. Farmers Ins. Co.
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    • Missouri Court of Appeals
    • August 8, 1977
    ...to the party against whom summary judgment was rendered and determine whether a genuine issue of fact exists. Wood v. James B. Nutter & Co., 416 S.W.2d 635, 636 (Mo.1967); O'Leary v. McCarty, 492 S.W.2d 124, 129 (Mo.App.1973); and Weber v. Les Petite Academies, Inc., 490 S.W.2d 278, 280 The......
  • Citizens State Bank of Nevada v. Wales
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    • Missouri Court of Appeals
    • July 13, 1971
    ...petition and amended affidavit were taken from defendant.6 Matthews v. City of St. Ann, Mo., 457 S.W.2d 766, 768; Wood v. James B. Nutter & Co., Mo., 416 S.W.2d 635, 636(1); Campbell v. Stout, Mo.App., 408 S.W.2d 585, 588(3); Gasen's Drug Stores, Inc. v. Jones Enterprises, Inc., Mo.App., 38......
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