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Cornish v. Jenks

Decided: May 16, 1932.

ALBERT C. CORNISH, APPELLANT,
v.
WILLLIAM P. JENKS, IMPLEADED, ETC., INDIVIDUALLY AND AS ONE OF THE PARTNERS TRADING UNDER THE NAME OF JENKS, GWYNNE & COMPANY, RESPONDENT



On appeal from the Supreme Court.

For the appellant, Lum, Tamblyn & Colyer (Ralph E. Lum and Tracy S. Voorhees, of counsel).

For the respondent, Pitney, Hardin & Skinner (Shellon Pitney, of counsel).

Case

The opinion of the court was delivered by

CASE, J. This is an appeal by the plaintiff from a judgment of no cause of action entered on a jury verdict in the Morris Circuit. The action was in conversion with respect to the management of plaintiff's account by defendant's firm of stock brokers.

Appellant's points one, two, four and five need not be considered for the reason that the grounds of appeal upon which they are based do not apprise the court with precision of the errors complained of. A ground of appeal that challenges the propriety of a portion of the charge to the jury should reproduce the language objected to. Hintz v. Roberts, 98 N.J.L. 768; O'Brien v. Staiger, 101 Id. 526; State v. Blaine, 104 Id. 325. Grounds of appeal relating to refused requests to charge should embody the actual language of the requests and mere references to them by numbers are irregular and insufficient. Stathos v. Bunevich, 107 Id. 269. The court is entitled to know precisely the specific ruling to be dealt with, and opposing counsel what he is expected to meet.

Shedaker v. James, 107 Id. 400. For the consideration of the remaining points knowledge of some of the facts is necessary.

The plaintiff was, over a period of many years, in the employ of the Standard Oil Company in China. He made periodical visits to this country on furlough. One such was in the winter of 1922 to 1923; another such was in 1926. In 1922 Cornish opened a margin account with Jenks, Gwynne & Company. On February 9th, 1923, Cornish wrote Jenks, Gwynne & Company a letter the pertinent part of which is as follows:

"Dear Sirs: * * * During my absence in China, I am hereby authorizing Mr. Clinton Burns, in an emergency, to take such action in connection with the stocks and bonds held by you for my account as he may think best; i.e., as to their disposal and/or replacement."

On March 5th, 1923, Cornish executed a marginal account instrument to Jenks, Gwynne & Company containing this clause:

"My orders are given with the understanding that commitments carried for me will be properly protected, and should I fail to deposit margin with you when demand has been made, I authorize the sale of any and all securities carried for my account and the closing of any and all open contracts for my account, either at public or private sale or upon any exchange, and notice of any such sale or closing and of the time and place thereof is waived."

Numerous stock transactions on this basis ensued. After Cornish had been in New York a few months in 1926, he returned to China and learned from a fellow-employe of the Standard Oil Company that Clinton Burns, the person mentioned in the letter of February 9th, 1923, and a former employe of the same company, was engaging in large and profitable stock transactions for himself and others in New York City and making his headquarters at the ...


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