Brief Fact Summary. Robert S. Weil and Jean K. Weil, (Plaintiffs) brought suit against Mark Murray, Ian Peck, and John or Jane Doe, (Defendants), for breach of contract, specific performance, and injury to property arising from Defendants alleged agreement to purchase a painting by Edgar Degas titled, “Aux Courses.” Plaintiffs successfully moved for summary judgment and Mark Murray appeals.
Synopsis of Rule of Law. In order for a seller to establish a cause of action for the purchase price together with incidentals, s/he must establish that the buyer agreed to buy the goods, accepted them, and failed to pay the purchase price.
Whether the contract for the sale of the painting was ambiguous.
Whether Mark Murray accepted the painting.
No. The language of a contract is not made ambiguous simply because the parties urge different interpretations.
Yes. Mark Murray accepted the painting because he had a reasonable opportunity to inspect and did in fact inspect the painting and his subsequent actions were inconsistent with Plaintiffs ownership.
A principal is liable for an agent's fraud though the agent acts solely to benefit himself, if the agent acts with apparent authority.View Full Point of Law
Plaintiffs have also established that Mark Murray accepted the painting. Goods are accepted when a reasonable opportunity for inspecting them has passed. Murray inspected the painting at the Plaintiffs’ home. He had additional opportunity to examine the painting at his gallery. There is no evidence that he found the painting unsatisfactory or non-conforming. Further, Mark Murray permitted the painting to be cleaned and restored. His participation in the alteration of the painting is inconsistent with Plaintiffs’ ownership. Lastly, the return of the painting to Plaintiffs and their current possession of the painting does not preclude a finding that Plaintiffs are entitled to the contract price.