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Clark v. United States
United States Supreme Court
95 U.S. 539 (1877)
Clark (plaintiff) entered into an oral agreement with an officer in the United States (defendant) military, specifically the Quartermaster’s Department. Under the agreement, the military was to use Clark’s steamship on a trial trip and then, upon return, enter into a written agreement for the military to rent the steamship at a price of $150 per day. Also, the oral agreement included that the military would pay for the expenses of the trial trip and would be responsible for any losses that occurred during the trip. Clark delivered the steamship, and the military sent it out with a military crew on the trial trip. The steamship was lost during that trip, and Clark filed a claim seeking to recover the value of the ship. The United States denied the claim because federal law required such contracts to be in writing, and the court of claims dismissed the case. Clark appealed.
Rule of Law
Holding and Reasoning (Bradley, J.)
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