The opinion of the court was delivered by: RYAN
The defendant at the close of plaintiffs' case, and again at the close of the entire case, moved to dismiss and for a directed verdict upon the grounds then set forth in detail. The Court reserved decision on the motions and now decides them.
The Court, in its consideration, of the motion, must be mindful of the factual contentions of plaintiff, and of the legal principles which would support a judgment in its favor.
We are required to, and without reservation we do, give to the evidence the interpretation most favorable to the plaintiff.
Plaintiffs' claim sounds in tort. It urges a claim arising from a fraud alleged to have been perpetrated upon it by the defendant. Plaintiff has neither alleged nor proved a claim based upon the alleged breach of an enforceable contract.
The fraud which plaintiff alleges is two-pronged. Thus, plaintiff alleges that it was defrauded by defendant by means of affirmative false representations, and that it was also deceived and defrauded by defendant because of defendant's failure to disclose its business policy.
The Court assumes, for purposes of this decision, that such a policy did, in fact, exist.
The misrepresentations, by which plaintiff claims it was defrauded, are alleged to have been made in July, 1947, and on November 9, 1951.
The Court also assumes for purposes of this decision that these statements or representations alleged were, in fact, made as alleged.
It is undisputed that on July 10, 1952, the plaintiff was notified that after June 30, 1953, plaintiffs' distributorship would not be continued. The Court has ruled that after this notification of July 10, 1952, plaintiff may not claim to have continued to have acted in reliance upon the alleged misrepresentation of November 9, 1951, and that it may not claim to have acted after that date because of ignorance of a policy of the defendant, which defendant was required in law to disclose to it.
The Court has ruled that recovery, if any, on the claim, insofar as it is predicated upon non-disclosure is limited to damages which flowed from acts of plaintiff done because of such non-disclosure from January 1, 1947, to July 10, 1952; and the Court has also ruled that recovery, if any, on the claim in so far as it is predicated upon a misrepresentation alleged is limited to damages which flowed from acts of plaintiff done between November 9, 1951, and July 10, 1952.
It is undisputed that between January 1, 1947, and July 10, 1952, five distributors' selling agreements were signed by plaintiff and defendant, and that these agreements were under date of November 1, 1947; November 1, 1948; November 1, 1949; November 1, 1950; and November 1, 1951.
It is also undisputed that following July 10, 1952 -- the date of the notification of the ending of the distributorship -- a last and the final distributors' selling agreement was signed by plaintiff and defendant under date of November 1, 1952.
It also appears undisputed that from 1936 to 1947, a series of twelve distributor selling agreements ...