BEFORE ROY NOBLE LEE, HAWKINS AND SULLIVAN
HAWKINS, JUSTICE, FOR THE COURT:
Baxter Porter & Sons Well Servicing Co., Inc. (Porter), a Bay Springs corporation engaged in drilling and servicing oil wells, appeals from a JNOV of the circuit court of the Second Judicial District of Jasper County in favor of Venture Oil Corporation (Venture) and Wilbur R. Lilly (Lilly).
Persuaded there was a jury question presented on whether Lilly in his dealings with Porter had apparent authority to bind Venture, we reverse and render, reinstating the original judgment based upon the jury verdict.
Venture and the James W. Harris Production Corporations (Harris Corporation) were Mississippi corporations with principal offices in Jackson. They shared the same office suite. James W. Harris was president of both corporations, Lilly the vice president of both. Both men were on the boards of directors of both corporations. Although the stock ownership is not revealed there was testimony that these two corporations were owned by these two men and their families. Lilly is a petroleum engineer engaged in oil exploration.
In November, 1981, Lilly in a verbal contract made with Rayford W. Porter, vice president and acting for Porter Corporation, engaged the services of Porter to clean out and redrill the A.C. Saxon Well No. 1, an old oil well in Jasper County.
The only dispute in this case is whether Lilly was only acting for Harris Corporation, about which there is no dispute, or for both Venture and Harris corporations, and also whether Lilly had actual or apparent authority to bind both corporations.
Lilly denied that he ever represented Venture, but Porter and Mrs. Nancy Porter, office manager of Porter, testified Lilly specifically directed each of them to submit
all invoices to Venture. Mr. Porter testified also that prior to the work beginning Lilly told him that he did not know which corporation would be billed, it might or might not involve Venture, but that later Lilly told him to bill Venture. Lilly denied giving any such instructions.
Two types of records were made, daily drilling reports and invoices. Lilly had an office trailer on the well site, where he managed the activities for himself and the business organization he represented.
There were a total of 126 daily drilling reports. The first nine, covering a period of December 30, 1981, to January 7, 1982, showed the work was being performed for the Harris Corporation. The remainder covering a period from January 8, 1982, to June 4, 1982, show the work being performed for Venture.
There were a total of 77 invoices submitted by Porter. The first eight, totaling $7,869.15, and covering a period from January 11, 1982, to March 4, 1982, were submitted to the Harris Corporation. There were two additional invoices dated April 22 and April 26, 1982, for the total sum of $1,354.50 submitted to the Harris Corporation. The remaining 67 invoices were submitted to Venture. They covered the period March 15, 1982, to June 4, 1982. The sum total of all invoices was $621,836.08, of which $612,792.43 were billed to Venture. Porter was paid $70,000.00, leaving a balance due of $551,836.08.
There was also evidence at trial that the Paul Rowell Construction Company performed bulldozer work at the site. This company likewise submitted 34 invoices or tickets to Venture. All were signed" Wilbur L. Lilly. "
On April 29, 1982, Lilly delivered a two-page handwritten letter of the same date to Porter, complaining of the poor work performed by the latter, and stating that ...