Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Tuttle v. Buck case brief

Tuttle v. Buck case brief summary
119 N.W. 946 (1909)

Plaintiff barber filed an action in the District Court for Wright County (Minnesota), and sought to recover damages from defendant competitor for his alleged unfair competition. The competitor demurred to the complaint on the ground it did not state a cause of action, and he appealed the order that overruled his demurrer.

The competitor opened a competing barber shop allegedly for the sole reason of ruining the barber's business and livelihood.


  • The court affirmed the order that dismissed the demurrer and held that even though a lawful act could not be made the foundation of an action because it was done with an evil motive, a cause of action would exist where the competitor started an opposition place of business, not for the sake of profit to himself, but regardless of loss to himself, and for the sole purpose of driving his competitor out of business, and with the intention of himself retiring upon the accomplishment of his malevolent purpose. 
  • The competitor could be found guilty of a wanton wrong and an actionable tort because in such a case he would not be exercising his legal right, or doing an act which can be judged separately from the motive which actuated him. 
  • To call such conduct competition was a perversion of terms. 
  • It was simply the application of force without legal justification, which in its moral quality might be no better than highway robbery.

The court affirmed the order that denied the competitor's demurrer to the business owner's complaint to recover damages from the competitor for his alleged unfair competition.

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