Quimbee logo
DMCA.com Protection Status
From our private database of 17,600+ case briefs...

Thomas v. Caldwell

Utah Supreme Court
497 P.2d 31 (1972)


Carolyn Thomas (plaintiff) was an elderly widow who had inherited two Japanese urns. Thomas also owned a number of other antiques and had some familiarity with their values. Michael and Stanley Caldwell (defendants), friends of Thomas’s children, visited Thomas’s home. During their visit, the Caldwells told Thomas that Stanley had become an expert antique appraiser. Thomas then asked Stanley to appraise some antiques she had, including the Japanese urns. Stanley appraised one urn at $1,000 and the other at $400. An antique dealer had previously offered Thomas $1,000 for the urn Stanley appraised at $1,000. In return for the appraisal, Thomas gave Stanley a painting and a gold frame. The Caldwells then offered to buy the Japanese urns from Thomas for $1,400. Thomas considered the offer for a few days and talked it over with her family before finally agreeing to sell the urns to the Caldwells. A few weeks later, however, Thomas saw that the Caldwells had advertised the Japanese urns in a local newspaper for $15,000 each. Consequently, Thomas filed a replevin suit against the Caldwells to recover the urns. A replevin suit is a lawsuit to recover personal property wrongfully obtained by another. Thomas argued that Stanley Caldwell had entered into a fiduciary relationship with Thomas by holding himself out as an expert to induce Thomas to rely on Stanley’s appraisal. Thomas further argued that Stanley had misrepresented the value of the urns to Thomas. In support of these arguments, Thomas had an expert witness testify that the Japanese urns were worth a lot more than Stanley’s appraisal and purchase price. The expert witness based his testimony on the value of Chinese vases that he said were worth less than the Japanese urns. The trial court ruled in favor of the Caldwells, finding no fiduciary relationship or misrepresentations. Thomas appealed.

Rule of Law


Holding and Reasoning (Tuckett, J.)

Dissent (Ellett, J.)

What to do next…

  1. Unlock this case brief with a free (no-commitment) trial membership of Quimbee.

    You’ll be in good company: Quimbee is one of the most widely used and trusted sites for law students, serving more than 458,000 law students since 2011. Some law schools—such as Yale, Vanderbilt, Berkeley, and the University of Illinois—even subscribe directly to Quimbee for all their law students. Read our student testimonials.

  2. Learn more about Quimbee’s unique (and proven) approach to achieving great grades at law school.

    Quimbee is a company hell-bent on one thing: helping you get an “A” in every course you take in law school, so you can graduate at the top of your class and get a high-paying law job. We’re not just a study aid for law students; we’re the study aid for law students. Read more about Quimbee.

Here's why 458,000 law students have relied on our case briefs:

  • Written by law professors and practitioners, not other law students. 17,600 briefs, keyed to 984 casebooks. Top-notch customer support.
  • The right amount of information, includes the facts, issues, rule of law, holding and reasoning, and any concurrences and dissents.
  • Access in your classes, works on your mobile and tablet. Massive library of related video lessons and high quality multiple-choice questions.
  • Easy to use, uniform format for every case brief. Written in plain English, not in legalese. Our briefs summarize and simplify; they don’t just repeat the court’s language.

Questions & Answers

Have a question about this case?

Sign up for a free 7-day trial and ask it

Sign up for a FREE 7-day trial