Patrick v. Bowman
149 U.S. 411 (1893)

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U.S. Supreme Court

Patrick v. Bowman, 149 U.S. 411 (1893)

Patrick v. Bowman

No. 157

Argued March 22-23, 1893

Decided April 24, 1893

149 U.S. 411

Syllabus

B., an attorney at law residing at St. Louis, went to Leadville, Colorado, on business of P. While there, he obtained knowledge of a mineral tract, and after communicating with P., he acquired a part ownership in it on behalf of Y. and himself. P. came to Colorado and took charge of the development of the property by sinking a shaft, the proportionate part of the expense of which was to be borne by B., who then returned to his business. Subsequently a correspondence by mail and by telegraph took place between P. and B., which ended in the acquisition of B.'s interest by P. The property became very valuable. When B. learned this, he filed a bill in equity to set aside his conveyance to P. as having been fraudulently obtained, and for an accounting, and for the payment of his share of the profits to him by P. On the correspondence and other facts

Page 149 U. S. 412

in evidence, as recited and referred to in the opinion of the Court, held that the evidence showed that the parties had made a complete settlement of their rights under the contract, and that B. had parted with all his interest in the property, and the bill must be dismissed.

When an offer is made and accepted by the posting of a letter of acceptance before notice of withdrawal is received, the contract is not impaired by the fact that a revocation had been mailed before the letter of acceptance.

This was a bill in equity originally filed by Bowman in the Circuit Court of St. Louis, and subsequently removed to the circuit court of the United States, against William F. Patrick and James M. Patrick, to rescind a sale made October 19, 1882, by Bowman to William F. Patrick, his then partner, of a five forty-eighths

The facts of the case were substantially as follows: in February, 1882, Bowman, then a resident of St. Louis, Missouri, and temporarily in Leadville on legal business as attorney of William F. Patrick, was introduced by one William H. Wilson, a mining promoter, to one Stebbins, who, with others, owned two adjacent mining claims in Leadville, known as the "Col. Sellers" and "Accident" claims, upon which no shaft had then been sunk to mineral, and it was then unknown whether the property had any value. The owners were looking for someone who would sink a shaft for a share in the property. Bowman, at Stebbins' request, visited the property, was pleased with it and its surroundings, and soon afterwards asked Patrick to join him in sinking the shaft. The result was that on February 17, 1882, an agreement was entered into between Stebbins and the other owners of the mine upon one part, and Bowman and Patrick upon the other, by which the latter undertook, in consideration of an undivided one-half of the property, a deed of which was deposited in escrow, to sink a shaft on the property to limestone in place or bed rock, if pay mineral

Page 149 U. S. 413

should not be sooner found, and to obtain patents from the United States to said property, and further agreed to commence work in sinking the shaft within thirty days from the date of the contract. It seems the mineral in that district lies in nearly horizontal bodies at the contact between porphyry and limestone, the porphyry being the overlying rock, and of varying thickness. The shaft was to be sunk through the surface earth and gravel, known as "wash," and the porphyry. The indications are generally apparent in the shaft, if there be an ore body below, and it be near, the porphyry becoming iron stained, and sometimes small seams or stringers of mineral are found in the porphyry leading to the mineral body below.

Bowman and Patrick were, between themselves, to be equal partners in the venture, each paying half of the expenses. Patrick, living at Leadville, was to superintend the sinking of the shaft and keep Bowman advised of all that should happen in the partnership venture. In March, 1892, and for some time afterwards, Patrick was indebted to Bowman for money advanced by him on account of certain legal business then in his charge. Bowman returned to St. Louis, and did not meet Patrick again until June 19, when they had a settlement at which Bowman exhibited a willingness to sell out his interest to Patrick. A correspondence, both by letter and telegram, began soon after that date, which is fully set forth in the opinion of the Court, and which resulted in a deed by Bowman of his entire interest in the property.

Upon the hearing in the circuit court upon pleadings and proofs, a decree was entered setting aside the sale and adjudging that William F. Patrick refund the sum of $57,099.69, the amount of profits received by him on Bowman's interest to March 19, 1889, the date of the final decree. 36 F. 138. From that decree, Patrick appealed to this Court.

Page 149 U. S. 414

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