Roberts v. Benjamin - 124 U.S. 64 (1888)
U.S. Supreme Court
Roberts v. Benjamin, 124 U.S. 64 (1888)
Roberts v. Benjamin
Argued December 22, 1887
Decided January 9, 1888
124 U.S. 64
In an action at law in a circuit court of the United States in New York, an order was made referring the action to a referee "to determine the issues therein." He filed his report finding facts and conclusions of law and directing that there be a money judgment for the plaintiff. The defendant applied to the court for a new trial on a "case and
exceptions," in which he excepted to three of the conclusions of law. The court denied the application and directed that judgment be entered "pursuant to the report of the referee," which was done. On a writ of error from this Court, held that the only questions open to review here were whether there was any error of law in the judgment on the facts found by the referee, and that, as the case had not been tried by the circuit court on a filing of a waiver in writing of a trial by jury, this Court could not review any exceptions to the admission or exclusion of evidence, or any exceptions to findings of fact by the referee, or to his refusal to find facts as requested.
The defendant agreed to make for the plaintiff 400 tons of iron, and to ship it about September 1st, or as soon as he could manufacture it, for $19.50 per ton. He did not deliver any of it at or about that date, nor as soon as he had manufactured the required amount. The referee found that the defendant "postponed the execution of the contract from time to time" and that, on November 7th, he insisted, as conditions of delivering the iron, on certain provisions not contained in the original agreement. The plaintiff did not comply with those conditions, and the iron was not delivered. The referee found that the market value of such iron on November 7th was $34 per ton, and did not find what the market value of such iron was at any other time. In a snit by the plaintiff against the defendant to recover damages for a breach of the contract, he was allowed $14.50 per ton. On a writ of error,
(1) The postponement of the execution of the contract must be inferred from the findings to have been with the assent of the plaintiff.
(2) The rule of damages applied was proper.
A counterclaim set up by the defendant was, on the facts, properly disallowed.
At law in contract. Judgment for plaintiff. Defendants sued out this writ of error. The case is stated in the opinion of the Court.