Appeal by defendant from the Circuit Court of LaSalle county;
the Hon. ROBERT E. LARKIN, Judge, presiding. Heard in this court
at the February term, 1950. Judgment affirmed. Opinion filed May
4, 1950. Rehearing denied June 26, 1950. Released for publication
June 26, 1950.
MR. PRESIDING JUSTICE WOLFE DELIVERED THE OPINION OF THE COURT.
Rehearing denied June 26, 1950
R.H. Blank & Son, Inc., filed a replevin suit in the circuit court of LaSalle county, Illinois, to recover forty wagon gears without wheels, from the defendant, Johnson Farm Equipment Company. The replevin petition was in the usual form and the value of the wagon gears was placed at $3,640. Trial was had before the court without a jury and at the conclusion of the case the trial court found the issues in favor of the plaintiff and awarded them possession of the property.
The evidence shows that these two companies had been doing business with each other for several years. The plaintiff company was the manufacturer of wagons in the State of Iowa. The Johnson Farm Equipment Company was doing business at Streator, Illinois. At the time of the suit the Johnson Company owed the Blank & Son, Inc., a considerable sum of money. Blank & Son, Inc., had sold and delivered on May 5, 1948, to the Johnson Company, forty wagon gears without wheels. For some reason the Johnson Company became dissatisfied with the last shipment of wheels and on July 7, 1948, wrote R.H. Blank & Son, Inc., the following: "We have now charged these forty gears back to you inasmuch as they are useless to us in their present condition as per enclosed invoice." This letter was signed W.D. Johnson, President. Accompanying the letter was the following:
JOHNSON FARM EQUIPMENT COMPANY
SOLD TO SHIPPED TO RECEIVED R.H. Blank & Son Jul 12 1948 Walcott, Iowa ROUTE
QUANTITY AND DESCRIPTION UNIT PRICE AMOUNT
We bill you for forty (40) incomplete gears that we are still holding on our lot, minus 160 wheels, delivered to us on May 5, 1948. . . . . $91.00 $3,640.00
The interpretation of this letter and bill of sale is one of the disputed points in this case. The plaintiff insists that this was a sale of these forty wagon wheels back to it from the Johnson Company. It is not clear from the record just what the Johnson Farm Equipment Company's position is. In the interpretation of written agreements, the courts will usually follow what business people generally would say the language used means. It seems clear to us that when the letter was written, and the bill of sale delivered to R.H. Blank & Son, Inc., that the Johnson Company intended at that time, to transfer title back to ...