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Kibler v. Frank L. Garrett & Sons, Inc.

Supreme Court of Washington, En Banc
439 P.2d 416 (1968)


Facts

Frank L. Garrett & Sons, Inc. (Garrett) (defendant) hired Kibler (plaintiff) to harvest its wheat crop. The parties did not agree on the price to be paid, and Kibler told Garrett that the price charged could be affected by circumstances occurring during the harvest. When the work was complete, Kibler submitted an invoice based on 25 cents per bushel. He then sent a substitute invoice based on 20 cents per bushel, amounting to a total charge of $876.20. Garrett responded with a check for $444 and a letter stating, in relevant part, that the $444 was 50 percent more than what Garrett paid the previous year for the same work and 20 percent more than what Kibler agreed to. The letter further stated that the amount invoiced by Kibler was “ridiculous.” Kibler called his attorney and asked whether he could deposit the check. The attorney told him to read off any notations on the check. Kibler read off “Harvesting Wheat Washington Ranch,” which had been typed, and “Frank L. Garrett & Sons, Inc.,” which had been printed. He failed to see, or read to his attorney, a line of small type on the form check that read, “By endorsement this check when paid is accepted in full payment of the following account.” With his attorney’s approval, Kibler deposited the check and brought suit against Garrett. After Kibler’s evidence was presented, the judge dismissed his claim on the grounds of accord and satisfaction even though Garrett had not raised accord and satisfaction as a defense to the claim. Kibler appealed.

Rule of Law

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Issue

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Holding and Reasoning (Rosellini, J.)

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Dissent (Hale, J.)

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