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De Bussche v Alt (1878)


  • An agent undertook to sell the principal’s ship
  • The agent’s partner purchased the ship himself, then sold it on for an immense profit ($160,000 compared to his $90,000 purchase price, in the 1870s)


  • Could the agent’s partner be liable?


  • Yes


  • Sub-agents cannot be sued
  • The partner was to be treated as a co-agent, and so could be sued for the $70,000 which the principal was deprived of
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