On appeal from the Supreme Court.
For the appellant, Stein, McGlynn & Hannoch (Edward R. McGlynn, of counsel).
For the respondent, Pitney, Hardin & Skinner (Carl A. Feick, of counsel).
The opinion of the court was delivered by
DALY, J. This is an appeal from a judgment of the Supreme Court entered upon a verdict of a jury after a trial at the Essex Circuit.
The plaintiff was engaged in the real estate business. The defendant owned a large tract of land in Newark which was largely undeveloped. The tract was being developed for industrial sites and the defendant sought tenants for these sites upon which the defendant would erect buildings for manufacturing purposes according to the requirements of the tenant.
There was testimony that the defendant had verbally authorized plaintiff to secure tenants for it upon this tract, agreeing to pay as commission therefor five per centum of the rentals under leases entered into or subsequent renewals or extensions thereof. It was undisputed that plaintiff procured some tenants for defendant upon this tract and was paid its commissions, prior to the transaction which resulted in this suit.
There was also testimony that plaintiff had a client, Brandes
Products Corporation, with whom it had previously done business, and that it sought to interest this corporation in defendant's proposition. Craig E. Vail testified that he was a salesman for the plaintiff and had interested Brandes Products Corporation in the site with the result that on May 24th, 1926, a lease was executed between it and defendant; that this lease was superseded by a lease between the same parties dated June 16th, 1926. Commissions were paid by defendant on the gross rentals under this lease. There was testimony that, on the same day upon which the aforesaid lease was executed, the defendant executed a commission agreement concerning the tenancy of Brandes Products Corporation and another tenant, in part as follows:
"Now, therefore, in consideration of the services rendered by the Fiedler Corporation should the within mentioned tenants, their successors, or assigns renew their lease, or extend their occupancy beyond the original term, or lease additional space in the premises in question or any other premises we may own, or should they purchase the premises referred to or any other property which we may own, we agree to pay the Fiedler Corporation a commission of five (5) per cent. on the gross rentals involved in such renewals, additions, or extensions of the lease."
The agreement is not dated. Defendant admitted the execution of it but alleged it did not understand the meaning of the agreement when it signed. No attempt was made to prove fraud.
It was testified that Brandes Products Corporation was expecting to require larger quarters and plaintiff's employes continued their endeavors to lease to it more of defendant's land from the execution of the lease until February, 1927, when the president of defendant company told plaintiff that it did not intend to build any more buildings. Plaintiff then ceased its efforts. Defendant, subsequently, dealt directly with Brandes Products Corporation and on May 24th, 1927, leased it the same land which plaintiff had sought ...