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La Grange Metal v. Pettibone Mulliken

OPINION FILED MAY 20, 1982.

LA GRANGE METAL PRODUCTS, PLAINTIFF-APPELLEE AND CROSS-APPELLANT,

v.

PETTIBONE MULLIKEN CORPORATION, DEFENDANT-APPELLANT AND CROSS-APPELLEE.



APPEAL from the Circuit Court of Cook County; the Hon. EDWIN M. BERMAN, Judge, presiding.

PRESIDING JUSTICE JOHNSON DELIVERED THE OPINION OF THE COURT:

Defendant, Pettibone Mulliken Corporation (Pettibone), appeals a judgment in a contract action granting damages in the total amount of $130,522.12 to plaintiff, La Grange Metal Products (La Grange), on counts I, III and IV and the award of prejudgment interest to plaintiff on counts I and III. Plaintiff appeals the judgment for defendant on counts II and V and the denial of prejudgment interest on count IV. The following issues are raised for review: (1) whether the trial court abused its discretion in refusing to allow defendant to amend its answer; (2) whether the trial court erred in holding that the quotation letters were offers; (3) whether the judgment for plaintiff on counts I, III and IV is against the manifest weight of the evidence; (4) whether the trial court erred in entering judgment for defendant on counts II and V; (5) whether the evidence presented by plaintiff proved an account stated; and (6) whether the trial court properly awarded prejudgment interest.

We affirm.

La Grange is an Illinois corporation engaged in the business of producing and manufacturing metal products, including metal beams and castings. Pettibone is a foreign corporation doing business in Illinois. Plaintiff filed a complaint against defendant alleging as follows:

Count I. In a letter dated May 2, 1966, plaintiff quoted part number A-3543 beam at $295 for 100 to 200 pieces, and $108 for 200 to 300 pieces. In a purchase order dated May 12, 1966, defendant ordered 200 pieces. Its purchase order listed the unit price as $108. Plaintiff processed 150 pieces.

Count II. In a letter dated November 3, 1966, plaintiff quoted part number A-3542 beam at $380 for 100 to 200 pieces, and $135 for 200 to 300 pieces. In a purchase order dated November 15, 1966, defendant ordered 240 pieces. Defendant's purchase order listed the unit price as $135. A line was drawn through the $135 and $115 was written underneath with the date May 9, 1967. Plaintiff processed 111 pieces.

Count III. In a letter dated May 2, 1966, plaintiff quoted part number AA-45255 castings at $904 for 51 to 100 pieces, $436 for 100 to 200 pieces, and $195 for 200 to 300 pieces. In a purchase order dated May 12, 1966, plaintiff ordered 200 pieces. Its order listed $195.50 as a tentative unit price. Plaintiff processed 62 pieces.

Count IV. In a letter dated May 2, 1966, plaintiff quoted part number A-3269 cover castings at $1,580 for 10 to 25 pieces. Defendant's original purchase order was dated May 12, 1966, and 212 castings were ordered. The figure 182 was crossed out and the unit price of $239 was written under it. In a corrected order dated September 21, 1966, defendant reduced the quantity to 15. Plaintiff processed 17 items.

Count V. In a letter dated February 17, 1967, plaintiff quoted part number A-3543 beam at $1,496 for 10 to 25 pieces, and $185 for 200 to 300 pieces. In a purchase order dated February 9, 1967, defendant ordered 240 pieces. Typed under "unit price" was "advise price." Written underneath this was $185 ea., H.F.G. told A.G. $135." Plaintiff processed 25 items.

In all counts, plaintiff alleged that defendant had failed to pay the amounts owing and prayed for damages plus interest.

In its answer, defendant admitted that plaintiff quoted certain prices but denied that the prices quoted were as alleged. Pettibone also admitted shipping certain items to La Grange but denied that the items were subject to the prices alleged. Defendant further alleged that it paid certain sums in full payment.

Testimony at trial established the following.

Frank Greene, president of La Grange, testified that in April 1966 he visited with officers of Pettibone, Mr. Cavender and Mr. Slokum. They knew that Greene had farmed out work to Madden Machine Company and they wanted him to secure parts machined for them by Madden. During this conversation, Greene called David Madden.

Three or four days after this meeting, Greene sent price quotations to Pettibone. At trial, Greene explained that the more parts machined, the less the price per part. Greene never received any objections to the price quotations. When asked about count II, Greene said that the $115 written underneath the unit price looked like his writing, but he was not positive that it was his handwriting. Greene also testified that during their ...


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