Plaintiff selling agent appealed from portions of a judgment of the Superior Court of Los Angeles County (California) in his action for damages for breach of contract by defendant liquor manufacturer.

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Overview

The parties had a contract for the selling agent to representing the liquor manufacturer’s products in a certain territory. The contract was entirely silent as to the term or duration of the agent’s employment with the exception of stating that the agent was to be the exclusive agent for as long as he continued to use his best efforts to promote and solicit the sale of the products. The selling agent sought to testify to certain conversations between the parties which preceded delivery of the writing in order to show that there was an understanding that the contract was to last at least three years because it was felt that it was going to take at least that long for the account to become profitable. The liquor manufacturer’s objection on the grounds that the admission of such testimony violated the parol evidence rule was sustained. On appeal the agent argued that because the contract was silent as to the duration of the contract, he should have been allowed to present the testimony of their discussions. The court agreed, stating that the issue as to the duration of the contract was one of fact to be resolved by a consideration of such available evidence.

Outcome

The portions of judgment for the liquor manufacturer that were appealed from were reversed.