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Machinery Hauling, Inc. v. Steel of West Virginia

Supreme Court of Appeals of West Virginia
384 S.E.2d 139 (1989)


Facts

Machinery Hauling, Inc. (Machinery) (plaintiff), a buyer of steel contracted with Steel of West Virginia (Steel) (defendant), a seller of steel, to purchase steel and have it delivered to a third party. Steel delivered steel to Machinery. Steel later informed Machinery that the steel was defective and that the third party had rejected it. Steel requested Machinery return the remaining undelivered loads of steel. Steel also allegedly told Machinery that if Machinery did not pay Steel $31,000 (the price of the undelivered loads), Steel would refuse to do future business with Machinery. The loss of Steel’s future business would cost Machinery approximately $1,000,000 per year. Machinery brought suit against Steel in West Virginia state court seeking to void the contract with Steel for economic duress. The question of whether economic duress was committed by Steel was certified to the Supreme Court of Appeals of West Virginia.

Rule of Law

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Holding and Reasoning (Miller, J.)

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  • A “yes” or “no” answer to the question framed in the issue section;
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