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State Rubbish Collectors Association v. Siliznoff

Supreme Court of California
240 P.2d 282 (1952)


Facts

Silizinoff (defendant), a trash collector, collected trash from Acme Brewing Company (Acme). State Rubbish Collectors Association (Association)(plaintiff) regarded Acme as being within the pickup territory of another member of the Association named Abramoff. The Association called Silizinoff and ordered him to give the money he collected from Acme to Abramoff. Silizinoff signed notes requiring Silizinoff to pay Abramoff in this regard. An inspector for the Association threatened to beat up Silizinoff, cut up his truck tires, and put him out of business if he did not make arrangements to pay Abramoff before the Association’s board meeting. Silizinoff attended the board meeting and protested that he owed nothing and told the Association he could not pay what he owed. The president of the Association told Silizinoff that the board controlled trash collection within the city. After two hours Silizinoff agreed to join the Association and pay for the Acme account, and signed notes indicating such. Silizinoff was so frightened from what occurred during the dispute that he became ill, vomited several times, and missed work for several days. The Association sued Silizinoff to collect on the notes and Silizinoff filed a counterclaim seeking cancellation of the notes because of duress and lack of consideration. Silizinoff also sought general and punitive damages for the alleged assaults made by the Association. The jury returned a verdict in favor of Silizinoff on all claims. The Association appealed to the Supreme Court of California.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Traynor, J.)

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