Piza Hermanos v. Caldentry - 231 U.S. 690 (1914)
U.S. Supreme Court
Piza Hermanos v. Caldentry, 231 U.S. 690 (1914)
Piza Hermanos v. Caldentry
Submitted December 15, 1913
Decided January 5, 1914
231 U.S. 690
APPEAL FROM TUE SUPREME COURT OF PORTO RICO
Where the principle on which the amount recovered is based is admitted, this Court will not go behind well warranted findings of fact in regard to the question of amount.
Where it appears that there may have been an error in computing the
amount of the recovery, this Court can affirm the judgment without prejudice to reopening the account for the single purpose of correcting such error if the lower court so permits.
The facts, which involve the construction of a contract of employment, are stated in the opinion.
MR. JUSTICE HOLMES delivered the opinion of the Court.
This is a suit by the appellee to recover the sum alleged by him to be due upon a correct account between the defendants and himself. The facts as found are that the appellee was employed by the defendants, copartners at a monthly salary and ten percent of the net profits, to be credited in his private account; that, after about seven years and a half, he left the firm on March 11, 1910; that the points of difference as to accounting concern the valuation of an estate bought by the firm and of some unharvested and unsold crops. The firm credited the estate at cost, $20,584.67, but the courts below found that it was worth $80,000, charged the difference, $59,415.33, as profit, and credited the appellee with $5,941.53. They likewise found that the profit on the crops was much greater than the appellee's estimate, and therefore allowed him the $2,000 claimed in his complaint.
It may be that we should adopt a different rule from that followed by the courts below if the question came here as a pure question of law. But it appears that the opinion of both courts that they found the appellants to have admitted the propriety of charging an increase in
the value of the estate as a profit, so that the question was narrowed to one of amount. The principle being settled in this way, it was applied to the unsold crops. We do not go behind these well warranted findings of fact, and really there is nothing else before us. The assignment of errors raised some other points, but these were the only matters that were pressed in the final argument, or that could have been pressed with any hope of success. It is suggested that, if otherwise right, the judgment charged the appellants with some items twice over. We do not see it, but if there has been any oversight in this respect, our affirmance of the judgment will be without prejudice to reopening the account for the single purpose of correcting errors of calculation if permitted upon application to the Supreme Court.