Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Smith v. Zimbalist case brief

Smith v. Zimbalist case brief summary
38 P.2d 170 (1934)


CASE SYNOPSIS
Appeal from the judgment of the Superior Court of Los Angeles County (California) finding that plaintiff seller was not entitled to recover the unpaid balance of the purchase price of two violins from defendant buyer.

CASE FACTS
Defendant buyer (buyer) purchased from plaintiff seller (seller) two violins that both parties thought to be a Stradivarius and Guarnerius. The seller sued the buyer to recover the unpaid balance of the purchase price of the two violins (about $ 6,000) when he discovered that the violins were cheap imitations worth about $ 300. The trial court found that the transaction was the result of a mutual mistake and that seller was not entitled to recover.

DISCUSSION

  • On appeal, the court held that the strict rule of caveat emptor did not apply to the facts of this case because each of the parties was honestly mistaken with reference to the subject matter of the contract. 
  • The court concluded that the description of the violins in the bill of sale amounted to a warranty on the part of seller that the subject-matter of the sale conformed to such description.

CONCLUSION
Court affirmed judgment finding that plaintiff seller was not entitled to recover balance of contract price for purchase of two violins because transaction was the result of a mutual mistake on the part of plaintiff seller and defendant buyer; description of violins in bill of sale amounted to a warranty.


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