Guide Poultney Bell

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Trees and gravel washed into the Flower Brook during storms have contributed to water quality issues and flooding risks downstream. On Saturday, Aug. Then on Sunday, Aug. Pawlet experienced significant flooding during Tropical Storm Irene. Elysa Smigielski has been working on the watershed events for the Rutland Regional Planning Commission. She says it makes sense to bring the residents of the three towns together, for the good of their common watershed. But there will also be an emphasis on what the community has accomplished for its watershed since Irene, and what it has yet to do.

Credit Mansfield Heliflight. View the discussion thread. Some really big art is going up in Jeffersonville this month. Muralist Sarah Rutherford is painting two concrete silos on public land along Route 15, at the former site of Bell-Gates Lumber. A statewide emergency response drill called Vigilant Guard is now underway and will stretch through August 2.

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Inside, participants munched on vegetable and fruit finger food, crackers and cheese provided by the Conservation Fund. A slide show of the landscape and wildlife supplemented the talks. The new secretary of the Agency of Natural Resources, Julie Moore, told the group that Vermont is an important link in the wildlife corridor for the Northeast region and that ecological connectivity is essential to biodiversity on a regional as well as a local scale. Bell said this is a story about rocks and people.

She had brought samples of bedrock to decorate the tables, and briefly referenced the tectonic movements that created the Taconic bedrock, which over the ages has given sustenance to the natural communities here. The upshot was that the plaintiff accepted the offer made by Huisamen and documents to give effect to the transaction were signed by the plaintiff, including the written outright cession.

The name of the cessionary was not filled in at that stage and the relevant space was left blank. Van Zyl in turn sold the policy to a Mr Boogertman who paid him, by cheque dated 16 May , the total sum of R1 , 00 made up as to R1 ,00 in respect the purchase price of the policy and R22 ,00 in payment of the total monthly premiums due on the policy for the following eleven months. Van Zyl in turn paid this latter sum to Old Mutual in discharge of the premium obligation in respect of that period.

The result thereof was that the maturity value of the policy as at 5 May was R1 , Had the above occurred, she would have exercised the option and reaped the. Her claim is. At this stage, the discussion will be restricted to certain. The plaintiff testified that there was no such deadline set and Llewellyn said he did not remember that a deadline was set ; there was no great urgency attaching to the matter although, of course, it could not drag on indefinitely.

According to him, he had no idea of what price could be obtained and he accordingly proffered no indication in that regard. The plaintiff and Llewellyn both testified that he indicated that the price a buyer would pay would not be substantially more than the surrender value, possibly in the region of R5 ,00 or R10 ,00 more. He, the second defendant, made no comment on the acceptability of the offer. The plaintiff testified that it was Pietersen who telephoned her and he merely advised her that a buyer had been found and asked her to attend the meeting the following day.

It was at the meeting that she first heard what was being offered. Her reaction was to ask whether she could not be paid a higher price. In this evidence she was supported by Llewellyn. The plaintiff further testified that the second defendant intervened with the comment that she was already getting more than what the policy was worth.

Llewellyn was unable to confirm this last aspect. At the hearing, Mr de Kock, a senior legal adviser in the employ of Old Mutual, who had access to the relevant file, testified that he had given instructions for the surrender value of the policy as at 15 May to be calculated. The result was the figure of R ,00 which, it may be noted, was the price paid by Huisamen for the policy. It reflects that as at May the surrender value of the policy was R , It is common cause that the computer print-out which the second defendant alleged reflected the figure of R ,00, was not produced by him to the plaintiff when he met with her on the farm.

It was also not produced at the hearing. Incidentally, in an affidavit in response to a Rule 35 3 notice delivered by the plaintiff the second defendant averred that at no stage had he had any document in his possession reflecting the value or potential value of the policy. In the light of the evidence of de Kock and Stroebel, the testimony of the second defendant is open to serious question. It is, however, unnecessary for any positive finding in that regard to be made. The former two each gave their evidence in a staightforward manner, without contradictions of any note, and no cognizable criticism is to be levelled at their demeanour.

I immediately record, however, that I have not lost sight of the severe limitations on demeanour as an indicator of reliability or the lack thereof. Nevertheless, they impressed me as credible witnesses. The second defendant on the other hand proved himself to be an evasive and contradictory witness.

He did not come across as a credible witness. Notwithstanding the financial problems that the plaintiff was experiencing, and these should not be understated, I am not persuaded on the evidence that matters were so pressing as to move the plaintiff to set 15 May as a deadline for finalising the matter of the disposition of the policy. It is not improbable that the plaintiff and Llewellyn would have wanted some indication of what higher price a sale of the policy, as against the surrender thereof, might yield, and I find the suggestion that they made up the evidence that the second defendant did give the indication they allege, and they thereby sought to mislead me, an unpalatable one.

He was in fact paid a commission of R25 , Although he testified that he was not aware that any commission in respect of the deal would be forthcoming and he had not stipulated for any, one would query whether he did not in fact entertain expectations on that score. That he was keen for the deal to go through, is further illustrated by the fact that, despite his relationship with the plaintiff, he made no enquiries of Huisamen as to how he had arrived at the figure offered and he himself took no steps to check its fairness; instead, so he claimed, he accepted the figure merely because he accepted that Huisamen was a man versed in such matters.

He telephoned the plainfiff to inquire whether the policy was not for sale. He was told that it had already been sold and on his further query was informed what consideration had been received. The further information reflected thereon was that declared bonuses on the policy had amounted to R , He in turn addressed Huisamen on the matter.

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Therein any liability on the part of Huisamen to the plaintiff was rejected, but it was recorded that Huisamen snr had, for reasons that need not be set out, advised his son that as a gesture of goodwill he should consider making an ex gratia payment to the plaintiff; that an offer of R ,00 had been accordingly been made; that it had been rejected; that Huisamen was nevertheless still prepared to negotiate a reasonable agreement. The plaintiff opted not to pursue the matter with Huisamen. If he is a professional agent, such as a broker, the standard by which the duty is to be measured is that of persons of experience and skill in his profession and in the place where he was employed to perform it.

Whether he has actually acted with the required degree of skill depends in each case on the circumstances. That much is accepted by the respondents.

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But how much skill, they say. What more can be asked of us? Two questions arise in this case. In general, what is the level of skill and knowledge required? Is the standard required in judging that level that of the ordinary or average broker at large, or is it that of the regional manager of the broking division of a bank professing investment skills and offering expert investment advice?

The answer to the first question is found in the judgment of Innes CJ in Van Wyk v Lewis AD at with reference, as it happens, to medical practitioners:.

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And in deciding what is reasonable the Court will have regard to the general level of skill and diligence possessed and exercised at the time by the members of the branch of the profession to which the practitioner belongs. For the purposes of this case I do not think that anything need be added to this statement.

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However, the second question is less easy - whether the standard is set by the broking community at large or by a much smaller group of which Stuart is a representative.