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Rudolph v. O.d. Jennings & Co.

NOVEMBER 5, 1962.

WALTER J. RUDOLPH, RESPONDENT (PLAINTIFF),

v.

O.D. JENNINGS AND COMPANY, AN ILLINOIS CORPORATION, PETITIONER (DEFENDANT).



Appeal from the Circuit Court of Cook County; the Hon. HAROLD P. O'CONNELL, Judge, presiding. Affirmed.

MR. PRESIDING JUSTICE BURMAN DELIVERED THE OPINION OF THE COURT.

This is an action brought by plaintiff, to recover percentages of profits and sales from defendant, pursuant to an alleged agreement. The case was submitted to the court on the pleadings, interrogatories, exhibits, evidence offered by plaintiff, and briefs. Defendant appeals from a judgment entered against it for the sum of $14,253.35.

It is undisputed that plaintiff, a mechanical engineer and business administrator, conferred in the early part of October, 1950, with O.D. Jennings, the president and chairman of defendant corporation, which was engaged in the manufacture and sale of coin operated amusement and vending machines in Illinois. Pursuant to this conference plaintiff sent a letter in longhand to the company stating "what my requirements would be to come back and work for them, such as length of time, money, details of the contract, like percentages and so forth."

On October 17, 1950, the following letter was received by plaintiff from defendant company and signed by O.D. Jennings, as president:

"October 17, 1950 Walter J. Rudolph 1506 West Grand Ave. Beloit, Wisconsin

Dear Sir:

Your rough draft of our proposed agreement has been received for study to prepare a letter of intent or an employment contract.

I prefer that the employment contract covers only the salary and duration of it plus the type of work, the means and cost of cancellation of the contract and the seniority protection you desire.

The other items covering bonuses or percentages you requested are covered in this letter of intent for the duration of your employment because they are variable or difficult to compensate for and thus may prove embarrassing, if covered in a firm contract. These items are:

1. We can pay you the requested 1% of all billing, less returns, only on contract and war work regardless who may be responsible for getting the work. This cannot include any work done on or for our pre-war coin machine products.

2. We can pay you 1% of the gross profits of the company, before taxes, as determined by our regular methods of accounting, provided there are profits.

Please submit a new draft of the contract to me so I can check it and sign it if it is in proper order. Rest assured that the two percentages mentioned should produce not just hundreds but thousands of dollars of extra income to you. We here hope that coming back to us will prove profitable to you and us."

A short time thereafter the parties met in Chicago, and pursuant to their conference, plaintiff received the following letter from the defendant company, dated October 31, ...


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