Sherwood v. Walker

From Wiki Law School does not provide legal advice. For educational purposes only.
Sherwood v. Walker
Court Michigan Supreme Court
Date decided July 7, 1887


Hiram Walker, the founder of Canadian Club whisky, moved out of Massachusetts at age 22.

Walker was also a dairy farmer & raised a cow named "Rose II of Aberlone." Thinking that his cow was infertile & couldn't produce milk, Walker sold his cow to Mr. Sherwood.

Sherwood also thought the cow was barren & planned to slaughter her for beef.

En route to deliver the cow from Walker to Sherwood, it turned out that Rose had become pregnant.

Procedural History

Since Walker refused to deliver Rose, Sherwood sued seeking an order of replevin (an action for the re-possession of personal property wrongfully detained by Walker).

Sherwood won.


Is a contract enforceable if it's based on a mutual mistake regarding the underlying facts of the deal?


A contract based on a mutual mistake is voidable by either party if the mistake concerns a material fact of the deal.


At the time,

a barren cow is worth $80 while a fertile cow was about $800.


There may be 2 types of mutual mistakes:

  1. regarding the quality of an item
  2. regarding the substance of the agreement.


This case is known as the "Pregnant Cow Case."