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Minneapolis & St. Louis Railway Co. v. Columbus Rolling-Mill Co.

United States Supreme Court
119 U.S. 149 (1886)



On December 5, 1879, Minneapolis & St. Louis Railway Co. (Minneapolis) (plaintiff) sent a letter to Columbus Rolling-Mill Co. (Columbus) (defendant) requesting a quote for the price of 2,000 to 5,000 tons of iron rails. Columbus replied in a letter sent December 8th, saying it would sell between 2,000 and 5,000 tons of iron rails for $54.00 per ton. On December 16th, Minneapolis sent a telegram Columbus requesting an order of 1,200 tons of iron rails at $54.00 per ton. On December 18th, Columbus replied with a telegram saying that it would not fulfill this order. On December 19th, Minneapolis sent another telegram to Columbus requesting an order of 2,000 tons of iron rails at $54.00 per ton. Columbus did not reply. After repeated inquiries by Minneapolis, Columbus denied the existence of any contract between the parties on January 19, 1880. Minneapolis brought suit against Columbus for breach of contract. The trial court entered judgment for Columbus, and Minneapolis appealed.

Rule of Law


Holding and Reasoning (Gray, J.)

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