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Barker v. General Petroleum Corp.

Supreme Court of Arizona

July 12, 1951

BARKER et ux.
v.
GENERAL PETROLEUM CORP. et al

Original opinion reaffirmed except as modified and cause remanded with directions.

Morgan & Locklear, of Phoenix, for appellants.

Moore & Romley, Struckmeyer & Struckmeyer and Jack C. Cavness, Phoenix, for appellees.

Stanford, Justice. Udall, C. J., and Phelps, De Concini and La Prade, JJ., concur.

OPINION

Stanford, Justice.

[72 Ariz. 239] On motion for rehearing appellants have called our attention to portions of the original opinion which we believe should be clarified.

The opinion must be interpreted in the light of the record before the court.

Page 450

We had before us only the evidence presented by the plaintiffs, which for the purpose of testing the correctness of the ruling of the trial court at the close of plaintiffs' case, must be considered as true.

We said in that opinion that there were two issues presented to us on the appeal: (1) Was Bland guilty of actionable negligence? and (2) If so, are the appellees or either of them liable for such negligence? Perhaps it would have been more accurate to state that there was presented to us but one issue, to wit: Did the trial court err in instructing a verdict for defendants at the close of plaintiffs' case? In determining this issue we necessarily had to consider the question of whether the evidence presented was sufficient to take the case to the jury on the question of negligence and who was responsible therefor.

What we intended to say in that opinion was that the evidence submitted by plaintiff relative to the negligence of Bland, which at that stage of the trial must be considered as true, was in the opinion of the court adequate to establish actionable negligence and that the trial court erred in taking the case from the jury. It was not our intention to foreclose the issue of negligence or any other issue properly raised by the pleadings on a retrial of the case.

We held that the admission of the contract between General Petroleum Corporation and Simpson carried with it the manual as an integral part thereof and [72 Ariz. 240] that the contract, when considered in its entirety, created the relation of principal and agent between the contracting parties. It was not only the right but the duty of the court on the record before it to interpret the written contract in order to determine the relation between Bland and Simpson and between Bland and General Petroleum Corporation and their respective liabilities to the plaintiff Barker.

We did not undertake to determine, and in fact were without jurisdiction under the pleadings to determine, the rights and liabilities of General Petroleum Corporation ...


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