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ConAgra, Inc. v. Nierenberg

Supreme Court of Montana
7 P.3d 369 (2000)


Dennis Nierenberg (defendant), a wheat farmer, called Marcus Raba, the manager of a grain elevator operated by ConAgra, Inc. (plaintiff), to discuss selling 12,500 bushels of wheat for $5.01 per bushel. Nierenberg later attempted to negotiate that quantity down to 10,000 bushels. ConAgra prepared a written “confirmation” contract for the sale of 12,500 bushels and held it at the elevator for Nierenberg to pick up. When he did not, ConAgra mailed it to him. Nierenberg received the contract 10 days after his conversation with Raba. Although Nierenberg later sold his wheat to another grain elevator, Nierenberg told Raba that the wheat would be delivered “one of these days.” ConAgra purchased grain from another farmer and sued Nierenberg for the difference between Nierenberg’s price and the price of the replacement grain. Nierenberg asserted an affirmative defense based on the statute of frauds. The district court entered judgment in favor of Nierenberg, finding that he had never admitted that a contract for sale was made with ConAgra and that, because of the rapidly fluctuating price of wheat, the confirmation of the contract was not received within a reasonable amount of time. ConAgra appealed.

Rule of Law


Holding and Reasoning (Nelson, J.)

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