Sherwood v. Walker
Supreme Court of Michigan, 1887.
66 Mich. 568, 33 N.W. 919.
Dawson, pp. 606-612
Facts: Walker contracted
to sell Sherwood a cow.† The price
suggested that both parties thought the cow was barren.† If the cow is barren, itís only worth its
value in meat.† But the cow turned out to
be pregnant, and it is worth a whole lot more as a breeder.† After the contract had been signed, and the
calf had been discovered, the defendant tried to back out of the contract. †The plaintiff sued for replevin.† The trial court ruled that the sale must
proceed and found for the plaintiff.† The
Issue: Can the defendant rescind the contract on the basis
that the parties didnít know the cow was fertile when they entered into the
Rule: A contract may be rescinded if it was made in reliance
upon a mutual mistake of fact.
Analysis: Majority says there was mutual mistake.† The two sides didnít really know what they
were making a contract about.
The minority says that the
evidence tends to show that the plaintiff (buyer) knew what was going on even
though the defendant didnít.
Conclusion: The contract is declared void for mutual mistake and
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