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Wilkie v. Lash

Decided: January 26, 1938.

JOHN C. WILKIE ET AL., RESPONDENTS,
v.
LASH, INCORPORATED, A CORPORATION, APPELLANT



On appeal from the Passic County Circuit Court.

For the appellant, Vincent C. Duffy (J. Emil Walscheid, of counsel).

For the respondents, Robert Carey, Jr.

Parker

The opinion of the court was delivered by

PARKER, J. The determinative point on this appeal is the question whether there was error in admitting on plaintiff's case a letter to defendant from the chairman of the Michigan liquor control commission dated January 5th, 1934. We are of opinion that there was error.

The suit was essentially for commissions (in a second count of the complaint it is called the fair and reasonable value of services rendered) in and about procuring an order from the Michigan commission to the defendant corporation for a large quantity of alcoholic beverages.

During the prohibition period Lash, Incorporated, had confined its activities to non-alcoholic beverages; but as repeal impended it prepared to enter the alcoholic field. Lash, Incorporated, had a salaried employe named McGrath, with headquarters at Detroit. Plaintiffs solicited from defendant the exclusive agency for Michigan, and claimed that such exclusive agency had been agreed upon for a year, covering the time of the sale in question, and that a specified rate of commission

had been agreed on. This was denied, and became a question for determination by the jury. Plaintiffs further claimed that they had secured the large order above mentioned. This was also denied, defendant claiming that McGrath had obtained that order. On this second branch of the case, it was of course necessary for the plaintiffs to show that the order was given as a result of their efforts in the premises. To substantiate this, plaintiffs offered, and the court admitted over objection of incompetency as hearsay evidence, a letter to Lash, Incorporated, from the chairman of the liquor control commission, reading as follows:

State of Michigan, Liquor Control Commission, Executive Committee, Frank A. Picard, Chairman

V. F. Gormley

Dean Halford

Lansi ...


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