Law School Case Brief
Kendrick v. Ryus - 225 Mo. 150, 123 S.W. 937 (1910)
A line of cases fixes the measure of damages for deceit and fraud at the difference between the actual value of the property at the date of a sale and the value of such property if it had been as represented, thus making allowance to a purchaser for the benefits of his bargain.
Ryus was an experienced miner in the area where the mine was located. The parties negotiated for the mining lease. Ryus showed Kendrick a shaft in the mine, laden with rich ore, and represented that ore had not been removed from it and that other shafts contained ore of equal value. Kendrick purchased the lease and reimbursed an intermediary for his expenditure. Upon Kendrick’s attempt to work the mine, it was discovered that much of the ore had been previously removed. Ryus had placed loose ore in the vicinity examined by Kendrick to falsely represent the value of the mine. Kendrick filed his action against Ryus. The jury rendered a verdict for Kendrick, and Ryus appealed.
Was Kendrick properly awarded for the damages caused by Ryus' fraud and deceit?
The Court held that the "benefit of the bargain" rule was properly used in instructing the jury on the measure of damages. The rule permitted a recovery for the difference between the actual value of the lease at the time of the parties' deal and the value as represented by Ryus. Kendrick's evidence as to the value as represented by Ryus was not erroneously admitted because it was not so vague as to constitute mere speculation.
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