Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Wilkinson v. Powe case brief

Wilkinson v. Powe case brief summary
1 N.W.2d 539 (1942)

CASE SYNOPSIS
Plaintiff carrier brought an action against defendants, receiving corporation and owners, charging them with wrongfully procuring a breach of the carrier's contract with certain farmers to haul their milk. In a second trial by jury, the trial court (Michigan) entered a judgment notwithstanding the verdict, thereby nullifying the jury verdict in favor of the carrier. The carrier appealed.

CASE FACTS
The carrier contracted with farmers to pick up their milk and deliver it to the receiving corporation. After the carrier refused to sell his route to the receiving corporation and notified the receiving corporation of the written agreements, the receiving corporation took steps to end the carrier's route. The carrier argued that the receiving corporation desired to prevent the carrier from protecting the farmers from the receiving corporation's dishonest business practices by interfering with the contracts. The receiving corporation argued that it took action against the carrier after the carrier failed to timely deliver milk in good condition.

DISCUSSION AND HOLDING

  • The court held that: 
  • (1) the receiving corporation would have been within its legal rights if it had merely refused to accept milk from the carrier; 
  • (2) the receiving corporation's letters to the farmers showed active solicitation of breach of the contracts; 
  • (3) when the receiving corporation refused to purchase from the farmers unless they broke their contract with the carrier, the receiving corporation brought about the breach; and 
  • (4) the refusal to accept deliveries from the carrier was done to accomplish an unlawful purpose.
CONCLUSION
The court vacated the trial court's entry of judgment notwithstanding the verdict and remanded the cause for entry of judgment in favor of the carrier.

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