Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Hatley v. Stafford case brief

Hatley v. Stafford case brief summary
588 P.2d 603 (Or. 1978)

CASE SYNOPSIS
Defendant lessors appealed a verdict from the Circuit Court of Lane County (Oregon) rendered in favor of plaintiff lessee in his action for trespass against the lessors.

CASE FACTS
Lessee rented a farm from the lessors. Later, the lessors took possession of the farm and cut the wheat crop. The lessee filed a trespass action against the lessors. In their answer, the lessors alleged that they were exercising their right to terminate the contract. The lessee replied that the written lease agreement was not the entire integrated agreement of the parties, and that they had orally agreed the buy out provision only applied for a short time after execution of the lease. The trial court allowed introduction of evidence concerning the oral agreement, and a verdict was rendered in favor of the lessee, which the lessors appealed.

DISCUSSION

  • The court held that nothing was contained in the writing with respect to the duration of the buy out provision. 
  • Therefore, the oral time limitation was not inconsistent with the terms of the writing. 
  • In addition, there were a number of facts that could have led the trial court to conclude that it was natural for the parties to have omitted the time limitation on the buy out provision from the written lease. 
  • Thus, there was sufficient evidence to justify the trial court's decision to admit the parol evidence.
CONCLUSION
The verdict of the trial court in favor of the lessee was affirmed.

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