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Summers v. Dooley

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Brief Fact Summary. Plaintiff, John Summers, hired an employee despite the objections of Defendant-partner, E.A. Dooley. Plaintiff wants Defendant to reimburse him for half the costs of the additional employee.

Synopsis of Rule of Law. A partner will not be permitted to recover expenses that benefit the partner individually rather than benefiting the partnership.

Points of Law - Legal Principles in this Case for Law Students.

* Whether a particular statute is mandatory or directory does not depend on its form, but upon the intention of the legislature, to be ascertained from a consideration of the entire act, its nature, its object, and the consequences that would result from construing it one way or the other.

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Facts. Plaintiff and Defendant agreed to operate a trash-collecting business. They decided to perform the work themselves, and if either was unable to perform then that partner was responsible for paying a third party to work on his behalf. Plaintiff was unable to perform his duties and suggested that the business hire an employee. Defendant objected but Plaintiff hired another person anyway, personally costing Plaintiff $11,000. Plaintiff wanted to be reimbursed for half of the costs.

Issue. The issue is whether the partnership should be held responsible for the costs of the employee hired by Plaintiff over the objections of Defendant.

Held. The Plaintiff should not be compensated by the partnership for the cost of the additional employee. The additional employee was brought on for the personal benefit of Plaintiff and not the partnership. Defendant repeatedly rejected the hiring. A decision to change the status quo would also require a majority approval, and Plaintiff’s one vote did not constitute a majority.

Discussion. The facts are very similar to National Biscuit Company v. Stroud with a different result. However, in this case the partner’s decision was for his own benefit, and the decision was contrary to the status quo.

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