196 Mass. 90

March 21, 1907 - June 19, 1907

Suffolk County


Agency, Scope of authority, Ratification, Commission. Broker, Commission. Shipbroker.

At the trial of an action by a shipbroker to recover a commission which the defendant agreed to pay him for procuring an agreement by a customer of the plaintiff to charter certain vessels to be furnished by the defendant, there was evidence warranting a finding that the defendant had agreed to pay such commission, that it had made an offer in writing addressed to the plaintiff "to furnish" the vessels, which the plaintiff had transmitted to his customer, who wrote to the plaintiff a letter which he intended to be an acceptance of the offer but which varied from its terms, that the customer also orally told the plaintiff that he accepted the offer, and that the plaintiff wrote the defendant a valid acceptance which the customer subsequently ratified. The defendant contended that the fact that the letter of the plaintiff to the defendant varied in its terms from that of the customer to the plaintiff made it unauthorized and not a valid acceptance of the defendant's offer. Held, that the plaintiff was entitled to recover, the acceptance written by the plaintiff to the defendant being effective, because authorized orally as well as ratified by the customer.

CONTRACT by the firm of shipbrokers who procured for the defendant the agreement which was the basis of the case next preceding. Writ in the Superior Court for the county of Suffolk dated January 22, 1901.

The case was tried before Gaskill, J., together with the case next preceding on facts there reported. The defendant requested the presiding judge to rule in substance (1) that on the whole evidence the plaintiffs were not entitled to recover, (2) that they were not entitled to recover because, in the letter of acceptance which they wrote Mack, they exceeded the terms stated in the letter written them by the Metropolitan Coal Company on the same day, (3) that, even if the Metropolitan Coal Company ratified the plaintiffs' letter of September 28 to the defendant, the fact that such letter varied from the terms of the letter from the Metropolitan Coal Company to them of the same date prevents recovery by the plaintiffs.

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The presiding judge refused the requests, made a special finding, as stated in the report of the case next preceding, and found for the plaintiffs, and the defendant excepted.

A. C. Burnham, for the defendant.

R. M. Morse, (C. E. Hellier with him,) for the plaintiffs.

LORING, J. The sole argument made in support of the exceptions here in question is based on the assumption that the defendant could not accept an offer more than once, and consequently that, since the letter of Mr. Hamlin dated September 28 was an unsuccessful attempt to accept the offer in question, the plaintiff violated the duty it owed the defendant in transmitting a communication which was an acceptance of the offer. We are of opinion that the argument rests on a fallacy for the reasons stated in Metropolitan Coal Co. v. Boutell Transportation Towing Co., ante, 72.

Exceptions overruled.