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Bailey v. West

Bailey v. West



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Published by crlstinaaa
Supreme Court of Rhode Island, 1969
105 R.I. 61, 249 A.2d 414
Supreme Court of Rhode Island, 1969
105 R.I. 61, 249 A.2d 414

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Published by: crlstinaaa on Apr 08, 2008
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial


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Case: Bailey v. WestParties: Plaintiff - Bailey, keeper of a horse farmDefendant - West, assumed owner of the racehorseProcedural History: The case was tried before a justice of the superior courtsitting without a jury, and resulted in a decision for the plaintiff for his costof boarding the horse for the five months immediately subsequent to when theplaintiff took the horse in, and for certain expenses incurred by him in trimmingits hoofs. The cause is now before us on the plaintiff's appeal and defendant'scross-appeal from the judgment entered pursuant to such decision.Facts: Defendant purchased a race horse, 'Bascom's Folly" and arranged to have itshipped to him. Upon its arrival, defendant's trainer discovered the horse waslame. Defendant then ordered that the horse be shipped back to the seller.Seller refused to accept delivery, and so the van driver, Kelly, calleddefendant's trainer for further instructions. During this conversation,defendant's trainer told Kelly, "***he would have to do whatever he wanted to dowith the horse, that he wouldn't be on any farm at the defendant's expense***."Plaintiff was not aware of this conversation, but was aware that there was acontroversy surrounding the ownership of the horse.Issue No.1 : Did the trial judge err when he found a contract "implied in fact"when the plaintiff acted to benefit the defendant , even though the defendant didnot intend on incurring any expenses and the plaintiff was not certain whom hewas making a contract with? Objective intentSummary of Arguments No. 1: The defendant shipped the horse to the seller, notthe plaintiff, and furthermore, expressed that defendant had instructed Kelly thatdefendant would not be responsible for boarding the horse on any farm.Additionally, the plaintiff knew from the time Kelly delivered him the horse thatthere was a dispute regarding the horse's ownership, and his subsequent actionsindicated he did not know with whom, if anyone, he had a contract.Holding/Rule No.1: The trail justice overlooked and misconceived materialevidence which established beyond question that there never existed between theparties an element essential to the formulation of any true contract, namely, an"intent to contract."Reasoning No. 1: An implied contract must have discernable terms. For such asituation to exist, the parties must exhibit mutual expressions of agreement.Issue No. 2: Assuming the trial justice was in essence predicting defendant'sliability upon a quasi-contractual theory, was the plaintiff acting as a volunteerwhich would null the rule of quasi-contract?Summary of Arguments No. 2: Since plaintiff knew at the time he accepted thehorse for boarding that a controversy surrounded its ownership, plaintiff couldnot reasonably expect compensation from defendant, nor can it be said thatdefendant agreed in the conferment of a benefit upon him. The defendant, uponreceipt of plaintiff's first bill, immediately notified him that he was not theowner of "Bascom's Folly" and would not be responsible for its keep.Holding/Rule No.1: The plaintiff was a volunteer who boarded and maintained"Bascom's Folly" at his own risk and with the full knowledge that he might not bereimbursed for expenses he incurred incident hereto.Reasoning No. 2: The essential elements of a quasi contract are a benefit

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