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    GUSS v. NELSON, 200 U.S. 298 (1906)

    U.S. Supreme Court

    GUSS v. NELSON, 200 U.S. 298 (1906)

    200 U.S. 298

    U. C. GUSS, J. W. McNeal, W. H. Gray, and Frank H. Greer, Appts. and Plffs. in Err.,
    J. T. NELSON.
    No. 124.

    Argued and submitted December 12, 1905.
    Decided January 15, 1906.

    On May 28, 1900, at Guthrie, Oklahoma territory, the parties to this action entered into the following contract:

    (Here follows a list of companies and number of shares of stock each.)

    On April 6, 1901, Nelson brought suit in the district court of Logan county, Oklahoma territory, to recover the additional sum named in the contract. After answer the case was tried by the court without a jury, and judgment rendered in his favor on February 20, 1903, for $4,500 and interest. This was affirmed by the supreme court of the territory (14 Okla. 296, 78 Pac. 170), and its judgment was brought here both by appeal and writ of error.

    Messrs. A. G. C. Bierer and Frank Dale for appellants and plaintiffs in error.

    [200 U.S. 298, 300]   Messrs. W. R. Biddle, W. P. Dillard, Selwyn Douglas, George S. Green, and H. B. Martin for appellee and defendant in error.

    Statement by Mr. Justice Brewer:

    [200 U.S. 298, 302]   Mr. Justice Brewer delivered the opinion of the court:

    The appeal must be dismissed. Oklahoma City v. McMaster, 196 U.S. 529 , 49 L. ed. 587, 25 Sup. Ct. Rep. 324.

    Considering the writ of error, we remark that no rulings were made in respect to the admission or rejection of testimony presenting anything worthy of consideration. No special findings of fact were made by either the district or supreme court, the former finding generally the issues in favor of the plaintiff, and rendering judgment upon such general finding, and the latter merely discussing the right of recovery upon the pleadings and such general finding.

    Plaintiffs in error contend that this is a mere option contract, and that no liability could attach to them except upon an election to purchase the property, which they never made, but, on the contrary, declined to make, and notified the plaintiff thereof by letter. They call attention to the clause providing that 'the $500 is to be considered an option,' refer to the fact that there is nothing in the contract in terms mentioning 'sale' or 'purchase.' There is always danger in applying a generic term to a contract, and then subjecting it to the general rules controlling contracts of that nature, irrespective of its special stipulation. While an option is given by the contract, and the price paid for the option is named, yet it contains other clauses which are equally binding, and from which liability arises. Option contracts are not all alike. As said in Hunt v. Wyman, 100 Mass. 198, 200, quoted approvingly by this court in Sturm v. Boker, 150 U.S. 312, 329 , 37 S. L. ed. 1093, 1100, 14 Sup. Ct. Rep. 99, 104:

    We see no error in the ruling of the Supreme Court of Oklahoma, and its judgment is affirmed.

    Mr. Justice McKenna took no part in the decision of this case.

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