Contracts Keyed to Burton
Baker v. Ratzlaff
Plaintiff, Baker, purchases and resells popcorn in a plant in Stratford, Texas and processes his payments and further business in Garden City, Kansas. Defendant, Ratzlaff, grows popcorn. Plaintiff contracted with Defendant to purchase popcorn from Defendant for $4.75 per hundredweight. Under the contract, Defendant was supposed to bring the popcorn in three shipments. Plaintiff was required payment on each delivery. Also, the agreement included a termination clause, which stated if Plaintiff failed to pay Defendant, Defendant would be entitled to relinquish the contract and keep or dispose of the outstanding popcorn. After the parties entered into the contract, the market price of popcorn increased to over $8.00 per hundredweight. Thereafter, Defendant made two popcorn deliveries to Plaintiff’s plant in Stratford, Texas, and Defendant did not ask for payment at either deliver, nor did Plaintiff offer payment. Plaintiff’s foreman only drafted weight slips at each delivery, which was Plaintiff’s standard practice. After, Plaintiff would send a copy of the weight slips to the Garden City office, where the office would process the payments for the deliveries, according to the weight slips. Subsequently, Defendant spoke with Plaintiff over the telephone to schedule a future delivery. Neither party mentioned the lack of payment. A short period after the phone call, Defendant sent Plaintiff a notice of termination of the contract, due to lack of payments. When Plaintiff received notice of termination, Plaintiff immediately sent Defendant two payments for the two deliveries. At this time, Defendant already obtained another contract with a third party to deliver popcorn $8.00 per hundredweight. Plaintiff was obligated to obtain another popcorn supplier to obtain popcorn at a price of $10.30 per hundredweight. Plaintiff brought suit in against Defendant, and the trial court awarded Baker $52,000 in damages. Plaintiff and Defendant appealed.
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