Cooper v. Schlesinger - 111 U.S. 148 (1884)


U.S. Supreme Court

Cooper v. Schlesinger, 111 U.S. 148 (1884)

Cooper v. Schlesinger

Argued March 19, 1884

Decided March 31, 1884

111 U.S. 148

Syllabus

Where a charge embraces several distinct propositions, a general exception is of no effect if anyone of them is correct.

When the issue made up by the pleadings and evidence for the jury is whether one party was induced to enter into the contract in suit by false and fraudulent representations of the other party, and isolated passages from the charge are excepted to, if the charge as a whole and in substance instructs the jury that a statement recklessly made without knowledge of its truth was a false statement knowingly made within the settled rule it is sufficient and will be supported.

Where a person is induced by false representations to buy an article at an agreed price, to be delivered on his future order, the measure of damages, in an action to recover for the injury caused by the deceit, is the diminution caused thereby in the market price at the time of delivery.

This was an action at law brought in the Circuit Court of the United States for the Northern District of Ohio

Page 111 U. S. 149

defendants in error, trading as Naylor & Co., against the plaintiffs in error, trading as George Cooper & Co. The suit was brought to recover the sum of $570.56, with interest from March 5, 1877, for goods sold, part of which was a quantity of star spring steel. Cooper & Co. set up in their answer to the petition as a defense, counterclaim, and set-off that the star spring steel was delivered under a contract between the parties made in March, 1876, whereby Naylor & Co. agreed to sell to Cooper & Co. 300 tons of said steel at 5 5/8 cents per pound, the same to be delivered on Cooper & Co.'s order at various times in the future; that Naylor & Co. were steelmakers, and Cooper & Co. were steel carriage spring makers; that the latter had been for a long time using the star spring steel made by the former; that a change from the use thereof involved expense and delay, and Cooper & Co. could not compete with others in the business unless they could purchase the steel at as low a price as others in the business could; that Naylor & Co. knew all this, and the contract was made with reference thereto; that in order to induce Cooper & Co. to purchase the 300 tons of steel, Naylor & Co., by their agent, falsely and fraudulently represented to Cooper & Co. that the condition of their furnaces and business was such that they could not make and sell during 1876, exclusively of the amounts already ordered by their customers, more than 600 tons of such steel, including the 300 tons which they then requested Cooper & Co. to purchase, and such that they could not make or sell during 1876, exclusively of the amounts already ordered by their customers, more than 300 tons of such steel to makers of carriage springs, to-wit, the 300 tons which they then requested Cooper & Co. to purchase, and which the latter then did so agree to purchase; that it was a part of the contract, and Naylor & Co. agreed, that they would not make and sell during 1876, exclusively of the amount already ordered by their customers, more than 600 tons of such steel, including the amount so contracted to be sold to Cooper & Co., and would not make and sell during 1876, exclusively of the amounts already ordered by their customers, any star spring steel to makers of carriage springs; that each and all of said representations

Page 111 U. S. 150

were false, fraudulent, and untrue, and that Naylor & Co. and said agent made the same knowing them to be false, fraudulent, and untrue, and for the purpose and with the intent of inducing Cooper & Co. to make said contract and purchase said 300 tons of steel at a price in excess of the then and future market price of such steel; that Cooper & Co. believed and relied upon said representations, and in such belief and reliance entered into said contract; that said price was in excess of the then price of steel, and so continued to be during the whole time of the delivery of the steel; that the condition of the furnaces and business of Naylor & Co. was not in any respect as so represented, but, as Naylor & Co. and said agent well knew, said condition was such that they could make and sell large quantities of such steel during 1876 in addition to said 600 tons and said amounts so ordered, and could make and sell to makers of carriage springs large quantities of such steel in addition to said 300 tons and said amounts so ordered, during 1876; that during 1876, Naylor & Co. did make and sell large quantities of such steel in addition to said 600 tons and said amounts so ordered, and did make and sell large quantities of such steel to makers of carriage springs, in addition to said 300 tons and said amounts so ordered; that during 1876, Naylor & Co. delivered to Cooper & Co. under said contract and at various times 572,900 pounds of such steel, for all of which Cooper & Co. paid at the price of 5 5/8 cents per pound, as agreed, and Naylor & Co. also delivered to them the steel embraced in the petition, and not paid for; that by such acts of Naylor & Co., the market price of such steel and of carriage springs was largely decreased, and during 1876 Cooper & Co. were compelled to and did pay for all the steel delivered to them under said contract a price greater than the market price, and a price greater than such steel was sold for by Naylor & Co. to others, and to other makers of carriage springs, and were unable to compete with other makers of carriage springs, to their damage $6,000, and that they claim as a set-off so much of the $6,000 as is equal to the claim of Naylor & Co., and ask for judgment for the remainder. There was a reply denying the material allegations of the answer and counterclaim. The case was tried by a jury

Page 111 U. S. 151

and resulted in a verdict for Naylor & Co. for $667.27, on which there was a judgment for that amount, with costs. Cooper & Co. have sued out a writ of error.



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