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H. Russell Taylor’s Fire Prevention Service, Inc. v. Coca Cola Bottling Corporation

California Court of Appeal
99 Cal. App. 3d 711 (1979)


Facts

H. Russell Taylor’s Fire Prevention Service, Inc. (Taylor) (plaintiff) entered into an oral agreement with Coca Cola Bottling Corporation (Coca Cola) (defendant). Pursuant to the agreement, Taylor made deliveries to Coca Cola of cylinders filled with carbon dioxide for use as fire extinguishers. After the termination date of the contract, Taylor demanded the return of hundreds of cylinders in Coca Cola’s possession. Coca Cola failed to return 246 of the cylinders. Taylor filed suit against Coca Cola and then amended its complaint to waive its tort claim for conversion and to proceed in assumpsit or implied contract. The trial court found that Coca Cola’s failure to return the cylinders was a taking and detaining of goods and channels. Because Taylor had waived the tort claim for conversion of goods, the trial court treated the action as based on an implied-in-law contract for the purchase and sale of the cylinders. The trial court found that the four-year statute of limitations of the California Commercial Code (Code) for contract actions was applicable, which meant that the suit was timely filed. Coca Cola appealed, arguing that the Code’s statute of limitations for contract actions was inapplicable and that the correct period was the three-year statute of limitations for tort, under which Taylor’s suit would not be timely.

Rule of Law

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Issue

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Holding and Reasoning (Zenovich, J.)

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  • A "yes" or "no" answer to the question framed in the issue section;
  • A summary of the majority or plurality opinion, using the CREAC method; and
  • The procedural disposition (e.g. reversed and remanded, affirmed, etc.).

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