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Allen v. Bissinger & Co.

Utah Supreme Court
219 P. 539 (Utah 1923)



Allen (plaintiff), in his role as the official reporter for the Interstate Commerce Commission, sent a letter to a number of large shippers, describing upcoming hearings on changes to shipping rules and regulations. In the letters, Allen offered to sell transcripts of the hearings. Specifically, Allen wrote: “A summary of the changes recommended in the proposed consolidated classification is inclosed (sic). As these are of unusual interest and importance, those who want copies of the official reports of these hearings, which will be furnished at the usual rate fixed by the Commission, should advise us at once so that we may make enough to supply them without delay.” Bissinger & Co. (Bissinger) (defendant) responded: “We will be interested in your official report of the different changes in the handling of freight and would ask you to put our name down for a copy of same.” The report was fairly extensive, so Allen sent the report to Bissinger in installments. After the second installment, Bissinger wrote that it thought there would be only one volume and that it had no use for the reports so it did not wish to receive or pay for any more installments. Allen cancelled Bissinger’s order for the remaining installments not already printed and sent Bissinger a bill for the reports it had received. Bissinger refused to pay in full and Allen brought suit. Bissinger asserted that a contract was not created because Bissinger had accepted something different—according to Bissinger, merely a summary of changes to the regulations—than what Allen had offered. The trial court found that Bissinger accepted Allen’s offer for the full report and ruled in favor of Allen. Bissinger appealed.

Rule of Law


Holding and Reasoning (Cherry, J.)

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