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St. Ansgar Mills, Inc. v. Streit

Supreme Court of Iowa
613 N.W.2d 289 (2000)


Facts

St. Ansgar Mills, Inc. (St. Ansgar) (plaintiff) regularly sold grain to Duane Streit (defendant) for future delivery. St. Ansgar’s regular practice was to provide quotes by phone, and if accepted, to submit a written confirmation of the sale. To offset the risk of quoting a price for future delivery, St. Ansgar would take a hedge position on the Chicago Board of Trade, which in turn obligated St. Ansgar, who relied on the farmer to purchase the grain at the quoted price. On July 1, 1996, Streit called St. Ansgar for a quote on corn for future delivery and accepted the quote. St. Ansgar prepared a written confirmation of the sale to be signed when Streit came to the store, which was his established monthly practice. Streit had often delayed signing previous confirmations but he had never refused a grain delivery. Streit did not come to the store in July per his usual practice, and did not receive the written confirmation until he visited the store on August 10. He then refused delivery of the corn, which he purchased on the open market for less than St. Ansgar’s quote because the price of corn declined after Streit accepted the quote on July 1. St. Ansgar sued Streit for breach of contract. Streit moved for summary judgment claiming he was not a merchant and that the confirmation was not received within a reasonable time. The district court granted summary judgment, finding that the written confirmation had not been received within a reasonable time. St. Ansgar appealed.

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Holding and Reasoning (Cady, J.)

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