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Julian v. Carpenter

Supreme Court of Arizona

January 20, 1947

JULIAN
v.
CARPENTER

Appeal from Superior Court, Graham County; Benjamin Blake, Judge.

Affirmed.

Udall & Merrill, of Safford, for appellant.

Anderson & Smith, of Safford, for appellee.

Udall, Judge. Stanford, C. J., and La Prade, J., concur.

OPINION

Udall, Judge.

Page 694

[65 Ariz. 159] This appeal is from a judgment for $ 1,221 in favor of the plaintiff (appellee), a farmer, and against the defendant (appellant), a handler of field-grown crops. The suit involved the recovery of payment for 88,800 pounds of yellow globe onions grown by plaintiff. Plaintiff's amended complaint set up alternative causes of action. The first cause was predicated upon a sale and delivery under a written vegetable contract. The second relied upon a bailment and a conversion thereunder. The amount asked for under the two counts was identical. The defendant's answer was a general denial to each count. Judgment was entered for the full amount asked without the court specifying whether judgment was being awarded upon the contract or upon the bailment.

One of the principal matters alleged as error was the failure of the trial court to state the basis of its ruling by making findings of fact and conclusions of law as required by Sections 21-1027 and 21-1028, A.C.A.1939. The facts are that this case was tried to the court without a jury on November 19, 1945, and thereafter on December 12, 1945, the court by appropriate minute order directed the entry of judgment. The request for findings of fact was not made until three days after the judgment had been entered. This court, in an unbroken line of decisions commencing with the case of Deatsch v. Fairfield, 1925, 27 Ariz. 387, 233 P. 887, 38 A.L.R. 651, has consistently held that a request for findings of fact comes too late to be made the basis of error for non-compliance therewith if made after judgment is rendered.

[65 Ariz. 160] In fairness to the trial court such a request should be made when the case is submitted for decision. Connor Livestock Co. v. Fisher, 32 Ariz. 80, 255 P. 996, 57 A.L.R. 196; Aldous v. Intermountain Bldg. & Loan Ass'n, 36 Ariz. 225, 284 P. 353; Morgan v. Krook, 36 Ariz. 133, 283 P. 287; Schwartz v. Schwartz, 52 Ariz. 105, 79 P.2d 501, 116 A.L.R. 633. We see no occasion to depart from this salutary rule and hence find that this assignment is without merit.

From the time this action was filed the defendant has challenged the right of the plaintiff to employ alternative pleadings and he now assigns as error the court's denial of his motion to dismiss the amended complaint in so far as it prays for inconsistent relief. It is his contention that the plaintiff should have been required to elect whether to proceed on contract or bailment.

Section 21-408, A.C.A.1939, reads in part:

"A party may set forth two [2] or more statements of a claim * * * alternatively * * * either in one [1] count * * * or in separate counts * * *." from which it would appear that a party may state as many separate claims as he has regardless of consistency. The rule is clearly stated in 41 Am.Jur., Pleading, Sec. 357:

"As a general rule, a plaintiff, when uncertain as to which of two or more grounds of recovery he will be able to prove, is allowed to present his claim by separate counts so framed as to meet the exigencies of the case as it may develop at the trial, and although he has ...


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