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Stallings v. Purvis

Filed: September 4, 1979.

EDWARD EARL STALLINGS
v.
W. G. PURVIS, STANLEY B. RUPY, CHARLES W. TROUTMAN, J. FRANKLIN KRIEGER, WILLIAM F. BEAL, JR. AND EDWARD E. HOLLOWELL, TRADING AS INVESTMENT PROPERTY ASSOCIATES AND W. G. PURVIS, INDIVIDUALLY



Appeal by plaintiff from Godwin, Judge. Judgment entered 5 July 1978 in Superior Court, Wake County. Heard in the Court of Appeals 28 August 1979.

Vaughn, Judge. Judges Hedrick and Arnold concur.

Vaughn

The central issue of this case is whether plaintiff offered evidence from which the jury might find that the parties entered into a contract in April, 1970 for the lease of the property at 6311 Glenwood Avenue, Raleigh, North Carolina. All three of plaintiff's assignments of error deal with the proof of this matter.

At the close of plaintiff's evidence, which we have set out at some length, the trial court granted defendants' motion for directed verdict pursuant to Rule 50(a) of the Rules of Civil Procedure.

"A motion for a directed verdict pursuant to Rule 50(a) presents the same question as did a motion for nonsuit prior to the adoption of the New Rules of Civil Procedure. The question is whether the evidence presented is sufficient to carry the case to the jury. In passing on this motion, the trial judge must consider the evidence in the light most favorable to the non-movant, and conflicts in the evidence together with inferences which may be drawn from it must be resolved in favor of the non-movant. The motion may be granted only if the evidence is insufficient to justify a verdict for the non-movant as a matter of law."

Arnold v. Sharpe, 296 N.C. 533, 537, 251 S.E.2d 452, 455 (1979), citing Kelly v. Harvester Co., 278 N.C. 153, 179 S.E.2d 396 (1971).

Under this standard, we hold that the trial court erred in granting defendants' motions for directed verdict. Enough evidence was presented to permit a jury to find that Purvis as agent for the others and in his own capacity contracted to lease the property.

The essentials of a lease creating an estate for years are (1) the names of the parties (lessor and lessee); (2) a description of the demised realty; (3) a statement of the term of the lease; and (4) the rent or other consideration. A lease is a contract for valuable consideration whereby one agrees to let another have the occupation and profits of realty for a definite period of time. Helicopter Corp. v. Cutter Realty Co., 263 N.C. 139, 139 S.E.2d 362 (1964). The one year lease did not have to be in writing to be enforceable. G.S. 22-2. Taken in a light most favorable to plaintiff as non-movant, the evidence presented by plaintiff would permit the jury to find a lease agreement. The evidence provides the essentials of a lease of particularly described realty, being 6311 Glenwood Avenue, for a term of one year for a monthly rental of $250.00 by plaintiff as lessee from defendant Purvis individually as lessor or all defendants collectively as lessors. The evidence in a light most favorable to plaintiff does indicate that Purvis had capacity to enter into the lease which was made.

It is admitted in the pleadings that the defendant owners were engaged in business as general partners. The acts of Purvis and also of Hollowell as well could, therefore, bind the partnership.

"Every partner is an agent of the partnership for the purpose of its business, and the act of every partner, including the execution in the partnership name of any instrument, for apparently carrying on in the usual way the business of the partnership of which he is a member binds the partnership, unless the partner so acting has in fact no authority to act for the partnership in the particular matter, and the person with whom he is dealing has knowledge of the fact that he has no such authority." G.S. 59-39(a).

The principles of agency law could bind the investors. Principals are liable upon contracts duly made by an agent with a third person "(1) when the agent acts within the scope of his actual authority; (2) when the contract, although unauthorized, has been ratified; (3) when the agent acts within the scope of his apparent authority, unless the third person has notice that the agent is exceeding his actual ...


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