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JOHN E. BECK, JR. & BECK ENTERPRISES, INC. d/b/a TOWN & COUNTRY MOTORS v. JAMES C. GOODWIN

SEPTEMBER 26, 1984

JOHN E. BECK, JR. & BECK ENTERPRISES, INC. d/b/a TOWN & COUNTRY MOTORS
v.
JAMES C. GOODWIN, JR. & METROPOLITAN NATIONAL BANK



BEFORE BOWLING, DAN LEE AND PRATHER, JJ. AND SUGG, RETIRED SUPREME COURT JUSTICE

SUGG, RETIRED SUPREME COURT JUSTICE, FOR THE COURT: *fn1

Appellants filed suit in the Circuit Court, Second Judicial District of Harrison County, on September 17, 1980, for breach of contract and alleged that the bank, through its chief executive officer Goodwin, agreed to finance appellants' used car business but failed to do so.

The appellees filed separate answers and incorporated in their answers a general demurrer. They also filed a plea in bar based on the statute of frauds, and alleged that the contract, if any, was an oral agreement not to be performed within the space of 15 months.

 The circuit court, Judge Leslie B. Grant presiding, entered an order on July 17, 1981, sustaining the demurrer and the plea in bar and granted plaintiffs thirty days to file an amended declaration.

 Plaintiffs alleged in their amended declaration that they obtained a Small Business Administration loan for $280,000.00 on May 5, 1978, from the bank for the purpose of expanding the operations of plaintiffs' business.

 Plaintiffs alleged that because of anticipated growth and the significant expansion of business they requested assurances as to the continuing availability of automobile financing arrangements through the bank, and alleged:

 . . . JAMES C. GOODWIN, JR. specifically told JOHN E. BECK, JR. that financing would never be a problem, and that as long as the bank had sufficient funds for this purpose that JOHN E. BECK, JR. and BECK ENTERPRISES, INC. would be a preferred customer. JAMES C. GOODWIN, JR. specifically indicated to JOHN E. BECK, JR. that Metropolitan would never arbitrarily cut off financing to him as they were aware that this was the very heart of his business. It was this express commitment from the defendants that caused the plaintiffs to agree to enter into the Small Business Administration Loan Agreement and to expand their business. Absent these specific assurances, upon which the plaintiffs relied, the plaintiffs would not have assumed the inherent risks in beginning to do business in a much expanded format.

 Plaintiffs also alleged that in August 1979, the financing agreement was terminated by the bank, and financing could not be obtained from other banks in the area for several reasons including changes in the overall economic condition. Appellees filed a general demurrer to the amended declaration and also a motion to strike based on the statute of frauds because the contract, if any, was an oral agreement which was not to be performed within the space of fifteen (15) months.

 On July 12, 1982, the court sustained the general demurrer and the motion to strike.

 The order is styled" Agreed Order "and was approved and agreed to by the attorney for appellants and the attorney for appellees. However, appellees do not contend on appeal the order was intended as an agreed order so as to preclude an appeal. We therefore treat the" agreed order "as one approved as to form only.

 The amended declaration does not allege the amount of financing which would be advanced by the bank, the rate of interest that would be charged, the time for advancement, the time for repayment, or what security would be required for such financing.

 In Izard v. Jackson Production Credit Corporation, 188 Miss. 447, 195 So.2d 331 (1940), this Court held an agreement to lend money was too indefinite to constitute a contract and stated:

 To sustain the peremptory instruction granted it by the court below, the appellee insists (1) that the alleged agreement to finance for another year was too vague, indefinite and uncertain to constitute a valid and enforcible contract; . .

 We think the case is easily solvable upon the first proposition. That is, taking the alleged parol contract entered into between Hamilton and Izard in the most favorable light possible, it was too vague and uncertain to constitute an enforcible ...


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