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Law School Case Brief

Knickerbocker & Nev. Silver Mining Co. v. Hall - 3 Nev. 194 (1867)

Rule:

An express promise to pay a certain sum of money as damages for a tort previously committed would doubtless create a contract upon which an action might be maintained, but most clearly the law will never presume a promise or agreement to pay from the tort itself.

Facts:

The mining company alleged the debtor wrongfully converted personal property of the mining company for the debtor's own personal use and benefit. The debtor agreed to pay the mining company, but later, the mining company brought an action to recover the value of the property. The trial court granted judgment in favor of the mining company, but the debtor appealed, arguing that the jury's verdict was defective. 

Issue:

Whether an express promise to pay a certain sum of money as damages for a tort previously committed created a contract upon which the mining company could sustain an action.

Answer:

Yes.

Conclusion:

The court found that the express promise to pay a certain sum of money as damages for a tort previously committed created a contract upon which the mining company could sustain an action, but that the law would not presume a promise to pay from the tort itself. The court held that the jury's verdict was defective in that the jury made a special verdict finding only the value of the property. The appellate court reversed the trial court's decision and found that although the jury assessed a sum, the trial court erred in concluding that the sum was the value of the property at the time of the conversion.

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