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Buffaloe v. Hart

Court of Appeals of North Carolina
441 S.E.2d 172 (1994)


Facts

Buffaloe (plaintiff) is a tobacco farmer who rented tobacco and barns for use in his farming from the Harts (defendants). In October 1988, while Buffaloe was renting the barns, Buffaloe and the Harts began negotiating the sale of the barns. Buffaloe orally offered to pay $20,000 in annual installments of $5,000 and the Harts orally accepted. The barns were not removed from the property because Buffaloe had agreed to farm the Harts’ land in 1989. When Buffaloe was unable to obtain insurance coverage for the barns for 1989, the Harts agreed to obtain it if Buffaloe would reimburse them, which he did. At some point after entering into the agreement with the Harts, Buffaloe had repair work done on the barns, telling the repairman at that time that he owned them. Buffaloe decided to sell the barns in 1989 and placed an ad in the newspaper. He entered into agreements with three separate purchasers and received deposits from all of them. Buffaloe had also spoken to an auctioneer about selling the barns prior to selling them directly himself. October 22 or 23 of 1989, Buffaloe delivered a check for $5,000 to Mrs. Hart that Buffaloe argued was for payment on the barns. The Harts argued that the check was nothing more than a rental check. The next night, Mrs. Hart called Buffaloe and informed him that she had sold the barns to someone else. Buffaloe received a letter postmarked October 26 containing the check, which was torn up. The Harts had sold the barns to the same people Buffaloe had dealt with.  

Rule of Law

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Holding and Reasoning (Greene, J.)

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