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Richert v. Handly

    Brief Fact Summary. Richert, (Plaintiff), and C.C. Handly, (Defendant), entered into an oral agreement to purchase and log a stand of timber. The venture suffered a loss and Plaintiff sued to recover his capital contribution. Plaintiff appeals judgment in favor of Defendant.

    Synopsis of Rule of Law. Whether an undertaking is a joint venture or partnership is immaterial to the determination of each party’s rights and duties under the contract.

    Facts. Plaintiff was to purchase a stand of timber and Defendant was to log it under the agreement that they would share equally in the losses and profits. Plaintiff purchased the timber and Defendant managed the operation. The trial court found that that the undertaking was a joint venture and that there was no agreement for Defendant to repay Plaintiff for his investment in the timber. The trial court entered judgment in favor of Defendant and awarded each party half the unexpended gross revenue of the undertaking.

    Issue. Whether the trial court’s factual findings support a judgment in favor of Defendant.

    Held. No. The findings are inadequate to support any judgment in this case.

    Discussion. The case is remanded with directions to make findings regarding the basis on which the parties agreed that the losses were to be shared and whether the claims of one partner were to take priority over the claims of the other, the amount contributed by each, the total receipts and the authorized disbursements, the amount which each party received to date, and the amount due on the basis of their agreement.


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