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Rose v. Vulcan Materials Co.

North Carolina Supreme Court
194 S.E.2d 521 (1973)


T. Rose (plaintiff) leased his stone quarry to J. Dooley for 10 years. At the same time, Rose and Dooley entered a second agreement in which Dooley agreed to sell stone to Rose at certain prices over the 10-year period. The stone-pricing agreement was a sealed contract. The next year, Dooley asked Rose to let him out of the agreements because Vulcan Materials Company (Vulcan) (defendant) wanted to buy Dooley’s business. Rose said that he would only let Dooley out of the agreements if Vulcan agreed in writing to assume Dooley’s contractual obligations. Vulcan bought Dooley’s business and sent Rose a letter saying Vulcan assumed both contracts. Vulcan sold stone to Rose at the contractual price for a year. Then Vulcan raised its prices. Rose did not have a practical alternative stone source. Thus, under protest, Rose paid Vulcan the higher prices for seven years. Finally, Rose sued Vulcan for breaching the stone-pricing agreement. The trial court held that the ten-year statute of limitations for sealed contracts applied and ruled for Rose. Vulcan appealed, arguing that it was not liable for the obligations in the sealed Rose-Dooley contract. Rather, Vulcan claimed its only obligations came from Vulcan’s unsealed letter and, therefore, that Rose’s case was barred by the shorter three-year statute of limitations for unsealed contracts.

Rule of Law


Holding and Reasoning (Huskins, J.)

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