Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Jennings v. Pittsburgh Mercantile Co. case brief

Jennings v. Pittsburgh Mercantile Co. case brief summary
202 A.2d 51 (1964)


CASE SYNOPSIS
Appellant company challenged the decision of the Court of Common Pleas of Allegheny County (Pennsylvania), which entered a verdict for appellees, realtor and investment consultant, and denied the company's motions for new trial and judgment n.o.v. in an action of assumpsit against the company to recover a real estate brokerage commission on a sale and leaseback of all of the company's real property.

CASE FACTS
The company, represented by its vice-president, asked the realtor to solicit offers for a sale and leaseback of the company's property and promised a commission if an offer was accepted. The realtor presented three offers to the company, the third of which came close to the original terms. The realtor alleged that the vice-president's initial statement that the executive committee had approved the third offer, which was communicated to the realtor by the company's financial consultant, constituted acceptance of the offer, although the realtor was told within a week by the vice-president directly that the offer had been rejected. The company refused to pay the realtor's bill for the commission. The lower court entered a verdict for the realtor and the investment consultant and denied the company's motion for a new trial or judgment n.o.v.

DISCUSSION
The court reversed and held that the company was entitled to judgment n.o.v. because the evidence was insufficient to establish that the vice-president had apparent authority to accept an offer for the sale and leaseback of the company's property, an extraordinary transaction.

CONCLUSION
The court reversed the verdict of the lower court, which entered a judgment in favor of the realtor and the investment consultant in their action to recover a commission from the company on the sale and leaseback of the company's real property.

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