Friday, December 27, 2013

Hennepin Paper Co. v. Fort Wayne Corrugated Paper Co. case brief

Hennepin Paper Co. v. Fort Wayne Corrugated Paper Co. case brief summary
153 F.2d 822 (1946)

CASE SYNOPSIS
Plaintiff appealed a United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois grant of summary judgment in favor of defendant in plaintiff's breach of contract suit.

CASE FACTS
Plaintiff, contending defendant breached contract as modified orally, filed its first suit at law in Indiana court. Plaintiff contended contract was ambiguous and that evidence of negotiations was competent and admissible. Defendant sought to strike out certain sections of plaintiff's complaint, stating that the alleged negotiations were merged into written contract and that contract was clear, complete and unambiguous. The district court agreed and struck portions of complaint. Jury found for defendant. Plaintiff filed second suit in Illinois court, this time seeking reformation of the same contract. Defendant's motion for summary judgment was granted, and plaintiff appealed.

DISCUSSION

  • The appellate court affirmed the district court's decision and held plaintiff could have, in the first action, sought reformation of the contract, and it had a duty to do so if it desired to litigate that question. 
  • Having sought an entirely different and inconsistent remedy in the first action, it could not now maintain the second action.
CONCLUSION
Summary judgment in favor of defendant in plaintiff's breach of contract action was affirmed. The appellate court held that if plaintiff had desired to litigate the issue of reformation of the contract it should have done so in its first action, filed in Indiana, concerning the very same contract.


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