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FURBECK v. CREST MFG. CO.

June 4, 1956

PHILLIP C. FURBECK, RESPONDENT,
v.
THE CREST MANUFACTURING COMPANY, INC., APPELLANT.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Taylor, Justice.

June 4, 1956.

This appeal comes from the Court of Common Pleas for Lexington County wherein respondent sought damages for alleged breach of contract of employment. Appellant filed demurrer to the complaint which was overruled by Order of the Honorable E.H. Henderson, presiding Judge. Thereafter, answer was duly filed setting up the defenses that respondent's employment was for an indefinite period or by the week and terminable by either party at will. The case came on for hearing before the Honorable James M. Brailsford, Jr., presiding Judge and a jury. Timely motions for nonsuit and directed verdict were made by appellant and overruled. At the conclusion of all the testimony, Judge Brailsford directed a verdict for respondent in the amount of $3,722. This being stipulated as the correct amount of damages provided Judge Brailsford did not construe the contract as being invalid in that it was for an indefinite period of time.

Respondent had previously worked for appellant on a weekly basis at appellant's Detroit, Michigan, and Edgefield, South Carolina, plants and was assigned to appellant's plant in Batesburg, South Carolina, in 1952, where he continued until his discharge June 10, 1955.

On May 28, 1955, following a conversation between Mr. Daniel C. Larkin, President of appellant Company, and respondent, Mr. Larkin addressed the following communication to respondent:

"Inter-Organization Communication

"The Crest Company

"To P.C. Furbeck

"From D.C. Larkin

                                      "Dated May 28, 1955
                                        "Subject
"Dear Phil:

"Sorry for the few days delay in writing you, but when I left New York I had to go to Akron and didn't return to Detroit as soon as I expected.

"Here is the dope, Phil. You understand that in view of the seat cover industry for the past eighteen months our operation overall has not been profitable. I stretched myself as far as I could in attempting to carry on as we did when our business was profitable, but we have now reached the point where we must operate for awhile as economically as possible.

"We want you to take to the road. You will do, I know, an outstanding job as you have the background to be successful and we must have your cooperation in accepting this offer to join our sales force. This is the kickoff for the start, and as volume improves we will not be stingy in our appreciation.

   "Salary                             $100.00 weekly
   "Expenses                           $10.00 per day
                                while on the road only.
                                No expenses when at
                                home.
"We will furnish you with a lease car, and all car operating expenses will be paid by us, which will include gas, oil, tires, wash, storage, etc. We find a lease car is the most economical in every respect.

"We would have you work New York State and New England until about October 1st, and then the ...


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