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Sherwood v. Walker

Supreme Court of Michigan
33 N.W. 919 (1887)



Sherwood (plaintiff) requested to purchase a cow owned by Walker (defendant), a farmer. Walker told Sherwood that most of his cows were barren and would not breed. Sherwood looked at Walker’s cattle and decided to purchase a cow known as “Rose” who was believed by both parties to be barren. Walker sent a letter to Sherwood agreeing to sell Rose for five and a half cents per pound, minus fifty pounds. This reflected an amount typically payable for cattle used only as beef and not breeding. At the same time, Walker sent a letter to Graham, his employee, requesting that Graham prepare Rose to be picked up by Sherwood. Sherwood sent a letter to Graham informing him of the date and time of pick-up. However, when Sherwood arrived, Graham stated that Walker told him to not sell the cow to Sherwood, as Walker had discovered that Rose was actually with calf and not barren. Thus, because she was a breeder, Rose was worth a significantly higher price. Sherwood successfully instituted a writ of replevin and recovered Rose. He later had her weighed, and found her to be 1,420 pounds. At the subsequent trial, Sherwood argued that title for Rose passed to him at the moment Walker drafted a letter agreeing to sell her for a certain amount per pound. Walker argued, however, that title to Rose never passed because Walker never weighed Rose and thus never confirmed a final price for her. The trial court held for Sherwood, and the appellate court affirmed. Walker appealed.

Rule of Law


Holding and Reasoning (Morse, J.)

Dissent (Sherwood, J.)

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