ISSUES that will/ will not/ or might be on exam

 

  1. Payment in full checks procedure per UCC 3-311
  2. Minors incapacity issues DEFINITELY ON EXAM
  3. 2-201 (2) statute of frauds NOT ON EXAM
  4. 2-328 auction rules
  5. overtaking exceptions to mailbox rule: restatement 40 NOT ON EXAM
  6. Restatement §69- acceptance by silence

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Contracts I Outline

 

I.  Introduction to Course

  1. Contract- a promise or set of promises for the breach of which the law gives a remedy.
    1. “quid pro quo” The promise must include an exchange or performance

 

  1. Promise- an undertaking that something shall or shall  not happen in the future
    1. The promisee must understand a commitment has been made

 

  1. Immutable rules- Rules that cannot be changed governing contracts (court decisions)

 

  1. The restatement will be used as the common law rule

 

  1. The UNIFORM COMMERCIAL CODE is binding law relating to the sale of goods.
    1. RULE:  The UCC refuses to refuses to enforce contracts that omit the quantity to be sold = default quantity of zero!
    2. The Ucc and Restatement will differ

 

  1. Sullivan v, O’connor- (focus on damages and type of recovery)  Doctor = plastic surgery Promise was to make her beautiful but he disfigured her.  REMEDIES:
    1. RULE:  Expectation interest/ Expectancy (better place)-  put the him in a place as if the contract had been performed.  move the vic to a better place.  Vic will gain wealth.  The difference between old nose and dream nose

                                                              i.      = actual the contract would have had at time performed (not hopes)

                                                            ii.      EX:  Lost profits

                                                          iii.      Cant give expectation for doctor because medicine not an exact science and doctors cant promise success

                                                          iv.      Here you wouldn’t get anything back that was part of the contract (such as first two operation costs) you would only get the value of what you expected to have at the conclusion  of the contract.

    1. RULE:  Reliance Interest (directly as was before promise)- puts him in good a place he would have been had the contract not been made plus loss due to reliance

                                                              i.      Example:  pain and suffering

                                                            ii.      You would get the $ back from first two ops because you relied on the promise of a good nose

    1. Restitution- restore to him any benefit he has conferred onto the other party
    2. YOU CAN ONLY RECOVER ONE TYPE OF INTEREST IN A SUIT!

 

  1. RULE: Comparable UCC remedy 1-106 (pg 147)
    1. The aggrieved party may be put in as good a position as if the other party had fully performed but no punitive, penal damages etc…
  2. RULE:  NO punitive damages contract law = theory of efficient breach, only reliance and compensatory damages

 

 

 

 

II.                Consideration

 

 

RULE:  Restatement 71 page 55 Promise plus consideration

  1. To constitute consideration a performance or a return promise must be bargained for
  2. A performance of return promise if bargained for if it is sought by the promiser in exchange for his promise and is given by the promisee in exchange for that promise
  3. The performance may consist of
    1. An act other than a promise
    2. A forbearance, or
    3. The creation, modification, or destruction of a legal relation

 

The performance of return promise may be given to the promiser or to some other person. It may be given by the promise or by some other person

 

A.     Rule mostly tends to be consideration or nothing

 

B.     RULE:  TWO QUESTIONS OF CONSIDERATION!

1.      The promisor must by his promise be inducing or prompting the promisee to fulfill contract AND

 

2.      Was hope of getting her to perform prompting the promise?(Kirksey)

 

a.      The promisor must be trying to get something out of the arrangement.

 

b.      There must be a condition of the bargain; No condition then no consideration

 

 

Hypo:  Father and daughter estranged and father wants to meet. His says: If you come to lunch then I will give you a ring.

 

Good because the condition = she come to lunch and father had reason (was induced to make the promise to repair the relationship)

 

Hypo:  peace of mind of the promisor is good enough

 

Hypo:  Can a brothers mere desire for contact with his nephews be necessary consid.?  The court must find a bona fide benefit.

 

Hypo:  Rich man tells man to follow his directions to store and get himself an outfit on his account, but changes his mind before bum arrives at store.  Not enforceable b/c rich man gets no benefit.

 

A.  Bargain for Exchange

 

                                    The performance must be

1.      Sought by the promisor, and

2.      Given by the promisee in exchange for the promise

 

B.  Detriment and Benefit

1.      Each party must suffer a detriment or a benefit

 

2.      Each the promisors promise and the promises promise or performance must be inducing the other, but the promisor’s promise must be induced and made because of the detriment or performance the promise requests of the promisee.

 

3.      Gain or advantage to the promisor is not needed, in order for consideration to be present, the promisor must only get what he bargained for.

1.      Hypo:  Al promised Buster that is he stopped smoking, Al would give Buster his skis.  Thus Buster is suffering a detriment and forbearing smoking and Al suffers the detriment of giving the skis.  There is an exchange.

 

4.      Detriment = yielding of a legal right

a.       Can be the form of an immediate act (doing or giving something)

b.      Forbearance (refraining from something)

c.       Partial or complete abandonment of  an intangible right

d.      Can also be any of the previous three to do in the future

 

5.      The detriment cannot be only a condition to a gift. 

1.      Hypo:  If you walk over to my car, I will give you my skis.  (This performance is not inducing the promisor to make the promise!)

6.      There does not have to be an equivalent in the number of promises and performances provided by each party.

a.       Two exceptions:

                                                                                                                           i.      Consideration unfair due to dishonest, fraud or honest mistake

                                                                                                                         ii.      Consideration given for a promise has so small a value that it is considered a gift (nominal value)

 

C.     PROMISOR MUST BE INDUCED BY PERFORMANCE RULE:

The pledge must prompt the promisee to act in a certain way, and the performance of the promise must be the inducement (reason) for the promisor’s pledge.

 

1.      Does the promisor have a reason for making the promise, is he getting something?

 

2.      The something does not have to be tangible, and the court refuses to measure the benefit of the promisor’s inducement.

 

D.     Measure of Detriment and Inducement: RULE:  Restatement 81 Even if the promise seems to be MOSTLY A GIFT, (mostly out of kindness) if any small consideration exists at all, the whole promise is enforceable.

1.      Hypo:  Uncle promises nephew $, if nephew refrains from smoking, drinking.  The nephew is giving up a legal right and thus suffering a detriment.

 

a.      Thus the promise prompted the nephew to act in a certain way AND the performance induced the uncle to make the promise

 

 

 

RESTATEMENT 81- the degree of how much the promisor is benefited does not matter.  Consideration must simply be a motive.

                                                                        ii.      1.  The fact that what is bargained for does not of itself induce the making of a promise does not prevent it from being consideration for the promise

                                                                      iii.      2.  The fact a promise does not itself induce a performance or return promise does not prevent the performance or return promise for being consideration – Ex Bogigian

 

E.      Rule:

1.      A promise is unenforceable if not bargained for.

 

2.      Each party must agree upon the benefit and detriments

 

a.       Was there a bargain that would yield a benefit to the promisor?

 

1.      Hypo:  Wife signs release of judgment and husband says this is consideration but court says no because wife did not know and thus did not agree to the fact that this was to be her benefit and detriment.

 

F.      ??? RULE: THE PROMISOR MUST BE AWARE OF THE BENEFIT.  Thus this rule will serve to protect those who don’t know they are making a promise. (Bogigian)

 

G.     THIRD PARTY RULE:  If there is a third party, ask the same elements: (third party okay restatement 71)

 

 

1.      What prompted the promisor to make the promise?

2.      Is the performance being rendered from inducement?

 

1.      Hypo:  A wants B to wash car for which A will pay C:

a.       A will benefit from the clean car

b.      C gets $$ for washing (performing)

c.       B merely a third party

d.      VALID AND CONSIDERATION!

 

H.     PAST PERFORMANCE RULE:  NO consideration for a performance already done in the past.

 

a.       Because then, the promise would not be induced by performance beacsue it has already been done.

1.      Hypo:  Parents had a baby and named him August.  A week later grandpa promised that is they named him August he would give them $5,000. = NO consideration

 

2.      X-lover promises to care for his x-mistress for her past years of co habitation.  The co-habitation has already occurred, thus cannot be inducing the promise

RULE:  If the promisee suffered the detriment before the promise was made, it cannot be said the detriment was exchanged for the promise

 

 

I.        GRATITUTIOUS GIFT RULE:  No consideration is the consideration alleged is obviously a sham or a cover to appear as consideration but cannot be reasonably conceived as inducing the promisor when he made his promise.

 

a.       This type of gift allows only nominal detriment by the promisee

1.      Ex:  $1.00

1.      Hypo:  Mistress pays x-lover one dollar for his promise to care for her for the rest of her life. (no inducement, this detriment by the mistress cannot conceivably be the inducing reason for the x-lovers promise = a gift

 

2.      Hypo:  grandpa promises you 17 million in return for cookies.  HE must sincerely be induced to give the 17 mill for the cookies, thus thus would normally be considered a gift and only nominal consideration.  (The court, however finds ways around this through promissory estopple)

3.      Hypo:  I promise to give you my book.  The promisee feels bad and then promises to give me his coin collection.  = no consideration because each promise is not induced by the performance of the other. The promises are made independently and = gifts

 

J.       INVALID CLAIM RULE AND Restatement 74 and Fiege v. Boheme

Restatement 74

1.      Forbearance to assert or the surrender of a claim or defense which proves to be invalid is not consideration UNLESS

a.       The claim or defense is doubtful because of the uncertainty of the facts or the uncertainty of the law

b.      The forbearing or surrendering party believes the claim or defense may fairly be determined to be valid.

 

2.      The execution of a written instrument surrendering a claim or defense by one who is under no duty to execute it is consideration, if the execution of the written instrument is bargained for, even though he is not asserting the claim or defense and believes that no valid claim exists.

 

3.      EXPLANATION:  Fiege v. Boehm

Girl was pregnant and boy made promise to pay child support as long as she would forgo her claim to file criminal charges against him for bastardy proceedings (child support).   The father allegedgly acknowledged he was the father, but claims now they never had sex.  Aside from the claim (that he is father) he did promise to pay for expenses and stipulates to this fact, in return for her not instigating bastardy proceedings.

 

Even though the claim turned out to be invlaid (the child was proven not to be his child)

 

He is obligated to pay because

1.      He promised to do so, and

2.      She genuinely believed he was the father and thus forwent he right to instigate child support proceedings

Had she not really known the claim to be invalid, there would have been no consideration.

 

RULE:  When a claim (that one claims is consideration because they forwent their right to assert the claim) is invalid we must put it through a two- question test:

 

1.      The claim is now doubtful or proved to be invalid

(and thus its power of being consideration is called into question and the enforceability of the contract at stake)

 

2.       When made part of the contract, (as the promisee’s detriment) the claim must have in good faith been though to be a valid claim.

 

K.    PRE-EXISTING DUTY RULE:  A detriment by the promisee is necessary, thus is the promisee is already obliged or required to do something, there is no detriment and thus no consideration

1.      Hypo:  Al and Buster make binding promise to give Buster skis if Buster pays Al $100.  Al realizes, however, he ,made a mistake and undercharged for the skis and asks Buster for an extra $50.  Buster feels is he does not agree, he will be taking advantage of Al and agrees.  = NO consideration for the $50 because Al already has a duty to deliver the skis for $100.

 

Restatement 73:  Performance of a legal duty owed to a promisor which is neither doubtful nor the subject of honest dispute is NOT consideration; BUT a similar performance is consideration if it differs from what was required by the duty in a way which reflects more than a pretense of a bargain.

2.      Hypo:  If a creditor promises to accept only a portion of what is owed to him in return for the debtor not filing bankruptency (and thus being protected and the creditor will receive nothing) this will be sufficient consideration as long as it is expressly stated.

3.      Hypo:  If the contract presents questions which are unresolved, then changing a part of a contract  (such as adjusting rent) in return for clarifying the part of the contract no clear = good consideration.

 

L.      PRE EXISTING DUTY TO A THIRD PARTY: 

1.      A has a duty to B through a contract with good consideration, and A promises the same duty to C for another benefit (another performance by C.) Thus B and C are both performing some detriment or benefit to A in return for the same duty imposed upon A.  No consideration between A and C because A already owed this duty to B.

 

MODIFICATION TO CONTRACT RULE: The courts insist (the UCC has an exception where modification can be made as long as it passes the good faith test) that some new detriment be found for modifications in contracts to be valid.

RULE:  This is to prevent coerced modification

2.      Hypo:  Fishermen taken out to sea having agreed to contract for $5 per day, but once out to sea during the short season, the fishermen refuse to work unless their pay is increased.  Foreman agrees to increase pay. = no consideration because the men had a pre existing legal duty to perform their work under the contract.

3.      Third party Hypo:  Third party offers to pay the fishermen ten percent over what their contract calls for.  This is consideration because the third party’s benefit is the promisee’s forbearance not to breach the contract between him and his employer.  The third party is thus buying the agreement not to breach the contract with employer.

RULE:  A promisor and promisee can promise to rescind the contract in return for the promise not to perform.

 

RULE:  When a transfer occurs consideration is not required and will be considered a gift because the transfer has intent and delivery.

4.      Hypo:  If the foreman had paid the new salary and then challenged its validity he would have not been able to get the money back because a transfer has already taken place.  The foreman must refuse to pay.

 

 

M.   EXCEPTION TO PRE- EXISTING DUTY RULE: 

UCC RULE sale of goods

Restatement 89 Exception: Services

An agreement to modify a contract needs no consideration to be binding, the modification must only meet the GOOD FAITH RULE:

 

1.  Must have a legit commercial reason

 

2.  The other party must voluntarily agree

A promise modifying a duty under a contract not fully performed on either side is binding

 

1.   If the modification is fair and equitable in view of circumstances not anticipated by the parties when the contract was made, or

 

2.  To the extent provided by statute, or

 

3.  To the extent that justice requires enforcement in view of material change of position in reliance on the promise.

 

1.      Restatement 89 element #1 RULE: 

a.       The promise must be made before the contract is fully performed, and

b.      The circumstances prompting the change must have been unanticipated, and

c.       The modification must be fair and equitable

 

1.      Hypo:  A is hit by higher prices that increase his raw material prices and he wished to raise his price he charges B for the product.  = Modification not enforceable because increase in raw material prices foreseeable, plus the fact that B entered into a contract that fixed prices probably for the very purpose to protect him from price increases. BUT there is a difference between an expected increase and a drastic and unexpected increase.

 

 

N.    MUTUALITY OF OBLIGATION- problem occurs where the promisor claims there was no consideration because the promisee was not bound to perform.

Both parties must be bound or neither is bound

Unilateral Contract v. Multilateral Contract:

Unilateral- A reward obligation where the promisor will pay IF something happens

(Multilateral- promise for a promise)

 

                        (Restatement confusing)

Restatement 77:  Illusory and Alternative Promises

A promise or apparent promise is not consideration if by its terms the pomisor or proported promisor reserves a choice or alternative promises UNLESS:

1.      Each of the alternative performances would have been consideration if it alone had been bargained for

2.      One of the alternative performances would have been consideration and there is or appears to the oarties to be the substantial possibility that before the promisor exercises his choice events may eliminate the alternatives which would not have been consideration

Restatement explained:

O.     Illusory Promise can occur in two situations

1.      One of the parties cannot have unlimited discretion so that, really, nothing is promised.

The argument is that is one party does not have to perform and is not bound, the other party is not bound by consideration.

Hypo:  Buster promises to buy skis for $100, and Al promises to sell to Buster, unless Al changes his mind = illusory promise

2.      If the promise is based upon a condition that cannot occur

 

Illusory promise and IMPLIED Best Effort rule:  When a promise is illusory, contains a loophole allowing a party out with no performance or detriment, their promise to perform carries the implied promise to use their best efforts, and thus through this implied promise there exists consideration

1.      Hypo:  Al and buster agree that Buster will buy Al’s skis next week for $100 if Buster can secure a loan by then.  This promise is illusory on its face because Buster is really under no obligation to act to secure the loan.  This is where the IMPLIED promise of Buster to use his best efforts to get the loan in time. 

a.       If he uses his best efforts but still does not get a loan, there is no contract and no breach. 

b.      If he does not use best efforts, there is a breach in the implied promise to do so and Buster would be liable for the breach 

Hypo:  Lucy, a fashion designer, hired a Wood who was to exclusively work for Lucy and find for her endorsements for which he would receive half the profits.  Lucy breached when she herself contracted with Sears to endorse.  Wood said under contract he was the only one who could find the clients, and thus he was entitled to half the profits.  Lucy said she was not in breach because there was no contract due to the fact Wood was under no obligation to perform.  (the contract was illusory)  The court disagreed and said the exclusive agency by which Wood was employed IMPLIED and obliged him to use his best efforts to perform, thus there was consideration, thus there was a contract, and thus Lucy was in breach.

P.      EXCLUSIVE AGENCY IMPLIED BEST EFFORT RULE:  When one is employed under another under exclusive agency, the best effort promise is implied and thus there is consideration.

 

Q.    (UCC) OUTPUT CONTRACTS:  Sale of goods

a.       Output and Requirements contracts:  the parties have left the quantity of goods open ended on the understanding that the quantity to be supplied under the contract will be determined either by the buyers requirements or by the sellers output.

b.      Output contract- seller wishes to dispose of its full production in one transaction and the buyer is confident that it can use all the seller can supply.

c.       Requirement Contract- seller is confident it can satisfy the buyers needs and buyer is unsure of its exact needs and wished to avoid the risk of ordering a specified quantity which may turn out to be short or excessive.

d.      Thus either contract could be considered illusive because the buyer could require zero or the seller could produce zero.

 

RULE: Even when not expressly stated the EXCLUSIVE DEALING OBLIGATION implies the sellers or buyers to use best efforts and good faith with a reasonable expectation test:

When a contract measures seller’s output or a buyer’s requirements:

3.      These outputs or requirements are those that would occur in good faith

4.      The quantity tendered or demanded may not be disproportionate to any estimate stated in the contract, or if no estimate was stated,

5.      The quantity tendered must be comparable to any normal or otherwise comparable output or requirement

Thus the party setting the output or requirement is held to a subjective honest standard AND an objective standard as what would be considered in the commercial context.

 

1.      Hypo:  Buyer and seller have req. contract for sand.  Sand prices unexpectedly hit bottom and thus sand dealer demands 100 more tons than normal.  Thus would not be made in good faith, or be close to normal estimate required and thus not valid or in good faith because it takes advantage of the price decrease.  The seller would thus be entitled to charge a higher price.

RULE:  The outputs and requirements are limited by a reasonable ceiling but are not limited by a reasonable floor, AS LONG AS THE DEMAND FOR ZERO OR THE OUTPUT MADE AT ZERO QUANTITY IS MADE IN GOOD FAITH.

2.      Hypo:  Buyer demands zero gallons when he normally demands 1 million gallions.  UCC does not provide a floor, only a ceiling and ok as long as made in good faith.

3.      Hypo:  Baker stops making bread crumbs (stops outputting) because the company is experiencing profit loss. Thus their output goes to zero. Not ok and breach of their implied promise to use best efforts under UCCà

RULE:  Factors such as profit loss not enough to constitute an output of zero and shut down before end of contract.  This is not enough.

 

R.     PERSONAL SATASFACTION CLAUSE RULE:  A personal satisfaction clause does not render a promise illusory because the promisee is under a good faith obligation to carry out the condition. 

 

S.      Restatement 228- Satasfaction of the obligor as a condition

1.      When it is a condition of an obligor’s duty that he be satisfied with respect to the obligee’s performance or with respect to something else, and it is practical to determine whether a reasonable person in the position of the obligor would be satisfied.

 

2.      Again, here the implied promise to carry out the condition is the consideration needed.

 

 

Hypo:  A buyer who had signed a contract to buy a piece of property did not have to ultimately purchase the property if he found the report to be unsatisfactory.  The sellers said this made the contract illusory and thus rescinded the offer on the basis the contract had no consideration.  However, the court ruled the personal satisfaction clause is subject to the promisor’s good faith.  The promisor is entitled to rescind the offer to buy, however, it must be based upon his good faith dissatisfaction with the report given.  THUS the standard used is an objective standard of a reasonable person to be satisfied or dissatisfied with the report

 

Rule:  When adhering to a condition based upon the promisors satisfaction, there is an inescapable duty to exercise the discretion honestly and in good faith

 

OBJECTIVE REASONABLE STANDARD:  When determining if the promisor has exercised his good faith the standard of satisfaction will be that of a reasonable person.  Thus if the reasonable buyer would be satisfied with the land = the buyer must take the land. UNLESS: The subject is subjective such as a painting, then you go merely on good faith.

 

 

 

 

III.               Restitution- PROMISE NOT MADE

 

 

**** What is the difference between this casue of action where there is no promise and §86**** 

Is there a difference?

Does a contract implied in law also require that the person whom the benefit was given make a promise for the cause of action to even exist?

If the person receiving the benefit does not ever promise to repay the benefactor will there still be a cause of action where there is unjust enrichment?***

 

A.     Restitution- Designed to prevent unjust enrichment

 

B.     This is not restitution the remedy, it is the cause of action to restore something suffering from unjust enrichment of another by the actors benefit conferred.

1.      Quasi Contract (contract implied on law)- an obligation imposed by law for the purpose of bringing about justice and equity

2.      A promise is never made nor is it implied in fact

3.      This is a non- contractual obligation treated as if it were a contract.

 

C.     RULE:  One who, without intent to act gratitutiously, conferes a benefit upon another is entitled to restitution if:

1.      He affords the other to decline the opportunity or has reasonable excuse for failing to do so. (life or death situation)

2.      The actor performs for the other a duty imposed upon him by law if the other refuses to receive the benefit

 

 

D.     Contract implied in law (quasi) v. Contract implied in fact

1.      RULE: Contract implied in law-

a.      Defendant received a benefit

b.      There is appreciation or knowledge by defendant of the benefit

c.       The circumstances would make it unjust for the defendant to retain the benefit without paying for it

d.      Recovery = defendants gain or the value of the PL’s services

1.      Hypo:  Man cares for another’s child were the other had a legal duty to care for the child, and thus owes thje actor for this benefit although there was never a promise made and the benefit has already been conferred

 

2.      Contract implied in fact (not what we are talking about here)

a.       The defendant REQUESTED PL to perform the work

b.      PL expected the PL to compensate him

c.       Defendant knew or should have known the PL expected compensation

d.      Recovery = amount parties intended in contract price

1.      Hypo:  Bring clothes into dry cleaners and put clothes on counter and leave.  It is implied by the facts you will pay for the clothes to be cleaned

 

E.      Restatement 86 Past benefit conferred:

1.      A promise made in recognition of a benefit previously received by the promisor from the promisee is binding to the extent necessary to prevent injustice

 

2.      A promise is NOT binding if:

a.       The promisor conferred the benefit as a gift or the promisor has not been unjustly enriched

b.      The value subsequently promised is disproportionate to the benefit received

 

MAKE COPY BLUM CHART PAGE 212 and 231

 

F.      Two requirements for this type of action

1.      Defendant has been enriched in some way

2.      The enrichment is unjust for the defendant to keep

 

 

G.    Quasi Contract has four elements

1.      Benefit is conferred

2.      The benefit must be of value to the defendant

3.      The benefit must be retained by the defendant

4.      There is inequitability of defendant retaining it for free

 

1.      Hypo:  $500 bill is blown into the car window and owner of the $ makes a claim for his money back.  Thus would the person who found the money blown into her car be able to keep the money?  NO

a.       Although there is no contract to return the money, it would be unjust under the circumstances to return the money  

b.      Look at the elements:

                                                                                                                                                                                                               i.      $50 is a benefit to me

                                                                                                                                                                                                             ii.      $50 has value to me

                                                                                                                                                                                                            iii.      I intend to keep it

                                                                                                                                                                                                           iv.      It would be inequitable to keep the money

 

H.     RULE: When benefits are conferred knowingly, there is no unjust benefit.  There is a presumption that where the receiver of the benefit knows of the benefit then it is a gift and there can be no compensation. 

1.      Hypo:  Someone gives you $500 and then realizes it was an overgenerous gift

 

I.        Rule: This presumption can be overcome in three ways:

1.      The status of the benefactor may overcome the presumption that a benefit is conferred as a gift.

a.       Ex:  When a doctor renders medical care we don’t regard those as gifts, we regard them as services for a fee

b.      One in a professional capacity rendering his professional service. 

2.      The extent of the benefit can overcome the presumption the benefit is a gift

a.       Arduous, dangerous, or expensive

b.      We say the benefactor has gone so far we would imply to compensate him for going to such an extent by accepting

3.      Put yourself in the shoes of the benefactor, if asked by the benefactor before rendering the benefit would the promisee have accepted the benefit in return for compensation?

a.       Ex:  one comes in an emergency and saves your house because power lines threatened to fall on it and burn it.  He then asks for 1,000. (His cost to save your house) The event was likely.

                                                                                                                                       i.      Here every element of a quasi contract is in place (the four elements) except to determine is there is unjust not to pay.

                                                                                                                                    ii.      The amount of damage is always restitution.

 

J.       RULE:  Remedy is always the value of the benefit conferred (restitution)

 

K.    Restitution as a cause of action when a benefit conferred pursuant to an invalid or unenforceable contract

1.      Hypo:  Seller and buyer of a house enter into an oral agreement to buy a house and buyer gives seller $5,000 down payment.  Under statute of frauds, a sale of real property must be in writing and therefore the contract is unenforceable and the seller can rescind.  If he does the buyer will have a cause of action for unjust enrichment to get back the $5,000 down payment.

 

L.      RULE:  If the party whom upon which the benefit was conveyed had no opportunity to decline the benefit there is no restitution cause of action.

1.      Hypo:  One paints your house while you are away on vacation it’s a good job and you appreciate the benefit, but you would have declined the benefit if it had been offered.  The person who gave the benefit would likely have no cause of action

 

2.      Hypo:  Pool company gets address wrong and in good faith build a pool in your backyard.  You like the pool and will use the pool, thus you will be required to pay restitution.

 

3.      BUT this is unique to the circumstances:  If you will  not use the pool, you have small children, you would have declined had you been asked, you likely will not be subject to restitution.

 

M.   RULE:  Circumstances require us to determine genuine good faith of the person whom has received the benefit

1.      Most courts would not require anyone to go through an additional burden where there exists a question of a gift of unjust enrichment

 

N.    RULE:  Unjust enrichment will occur when one takes over and performs a legal duty for another

1.      Hypo:  Good Samaritan took in man’s son and cared for him until he died.  Had the son been under 18 and the father had been legally responsible for the son, the father would be liable to the Good Samaritan for unjust enrichment.

 

O.    Restatement 86 (revisited):  Promise for a benefit received from prior contract.

1.      A promise made in recognition of a benefit peviously received by the promisor from the promisee (the promisee has conferred the benefit)

1.      THERE MUST BE A PROMISE

2.      THERE MUST BE UNJUST ENRICHMENT

a.       Hypo:  Relative made payments for family on land and the family promised to pay him back

 

RULE:  There is consideration when a new promise revives an earlier deal, which had good consideration

 

 

 

      UNDER §86
1.  There must be a promise to repay the benefactor

2.      There must be unjust enrichment

3.      The benefit cannot be a gift

4.      The promise to repay must refer to the benefit

5.      “A promise is not binding if the promise’s value is disproportionatly too high compared to the benefit (but it does not matter if it is too low)”

 

 

 

P.      Restatement 82 : Promise to pay Indebtedness:  supporting a new promise to pay old debts.  (Although there is no consideration, such a promise will be enforced when)

1.      A promise to pay all or part of an antecedent contractual or quasi- contractual indebtedness owed by the promisor in binding if the indebtedness is still enforceable or would be except for the effect for the statute of limitations.

 

2.      The following facts operate as such a promise unless other facts indicate a different intention:

a.       A voluntary acknowledgement to the obligee, admitting the present existence of the antecedent indebtedness

b.      A voluntary transfer of money, a negotiable instrument, or other thing by the obligor to the obligee, made as interest on or part payment of or collateral security for the antecedent indebtedness; or

c.       A statement to the obligee that the statute will not be used as a defense.

 

1.      Hypo:  14 year old enters into contract for sale of tractor which is unenforceable, but when he is 19 he comes back and promises to pay.  This is enforceable

2.      Hypo:  The period a statute requiring you to pay ends, but you come after that period and promise to payà enforceable

3.      Hypo:  Bankruptcy- you have a contract to pay for the tractor, but you then declare bankruptcy.  You later then promise to pay. à enforceable

Because the promise refers back to a contract that had valid consideration, they are enforceable.

I.      Promissory Estopple

 

Elements:

Promise is made

Reasonable foreseeable the promisee will rely on the promise

Detrimental Reliance

Injustice

 

Reasonable Foreseeability:

 

From the perspective of the promisor

An objective test- what would the reasonable promisor have foreseen?

The behavior that leads to the detriment must be the kind of behavior the promisor foresaw. 

 

Hypo:  Grandfather makes a promise to give granddaughter money to buy a red car.  She buys a blue car in reliance, however grandfather changes his mind.  She claims she detrimentally relied and now must pay for it.  Grandfather says he said he would give her the money for a red car.  This would be reasonably foreseeable because it is an objective test.

 

Detrimental Reliance

Must have been foreseeable to the promisor

 

Injustice

Justice does not require a remedy.  In justice requires a remedy

 

Remedy = expectation damages?????

The remedy for the breach may be limited as justice requires

The remedy is the Π’s choice, what ever she can prove.

 

Rickets v. Scothorn:  Grandfather gives granddaughter promissory note to give her money to make her better off and she quits her job.  Estate refuses to pay.  There is no consideration here because there was no condition upon which the granddaughter would get the money.

Holding:  Promissory estopple because a) promise made; b)  foreseeable to the promisor; c)  detrimental reliance; d)  injustice

 

Allegheny College:  Rich person makes promise of donation to college.  She refuses to pay.  There is consideration here, however because she promises to pay after there is a fund named after her.  The promise to name a fund after her is thus implied in the acceptance of the donations.  If there was not consideration, however applying restatement 90 to the case:

Holding: a)  promise made; b) the reliance of the school for the donation by the woman is foreseeable; c)  There is detriment; d)  there is injustice

 

Feinberg v. Phifer:  Π was ;ong time employee and the company offered her a pension plan in consideration for her service to the company.  The pension would be hers when she retired.  They did not give her a date to retire and she was still subject to being fired.  She retires, and begins to get the monthly pension but president dies.  The son says the pension was a gift and is not enforceable because there is no consideration.  She gets cancer and needs the $.

Consideration?  Not for all years of valuable service because todays promise cannot be prompted for past services; Not for her retirement because they didn’t say she ha to leave or give her a retirement date, thus no consideration.

Promissory estopple?  Yes all elements here except for detrimental reliance.

However, the ∆ argued she did not rely on the promise, and she would have quit her job anyway because she got sick. 

 

Goruse v. Group Help:  ∆ offered Π job but recanted.  Π in reliance upon the job quit his present job and turned down another job offer, he was still having trouble finding employment.  The contract was employment at will and thus because the Π had the option to take the job or not take the job it was an illusory promise.  Because it is illusory there is no consideration.  Thus in light of the fact it was an illusory promise of employment, the ∆ must at least make the good faith for the Π to have the opportunity to work there (even though there was no consideration)  The reason the ∆ goes after promissory estopple instead of the illusory remedy is because the latter would require the Π show what he would have made if he actually had and retained the job.  It is easier to show what he lost (his reliance damage is easier to show than his expectation damage)

 

Cohen v. Cowles:  ∆ printed a news story about Π although the had promised not to use his name.  Really there was consideration here.  The Π gave data in return for the promise not to disclose his name.  Promissory estopple works here too.  A)  promise. B)  Reliance was foreseeable; C)  Reliance occurred; D)  Unjustice occurred because the name was known.

 

Is there a deal?  Manifestation of mutual assent

 

Manifestation of mutual assent- if there is an offer and acceptance, we have manifestation of mutual assent

 

The objective test of mutual assent:  Although the party may say hey had no intention to make a promise, we look at the reasonable test to whether a promise would have been construed as such.

Look at the entire context of the conversation

What would the reasonable person listening in have thought?

 

The objective test:

Have the parties assented to the bargain (offer and acceptance)

What were the parties intentions in the process?

 

Embry v. Hardigane McKittrick:  Employer says, “go ahead, your alright, get your men and don’t let that worry you.” Employee takes this to mean his contract is renewed, because the conversation prior to the employers quote centered around that subject.  Employer says that was not the meaning of his words.

Holding:  we don’t care about the bosses secret intentions, just what was outwardly manifested.  We must look to the circumstances to see what the reasonable employee would have thought the boss to mean.

 

Restatement §21:  Intention to be legally bound

The parties real or apparent intention that a contract is legally binding is unnecessary, however if a manifestation of intention that a contract shall not affect legal relations, then the contract may not be formed.

 

This give the objective test above a subjective element because now, the Π cannot KNOW this is really a joke, really not to be legally binding.  However, this knowledge is still based on if a reasonable person would have this knowledge.

 

The question is:  Would a reasonable person think the promisor to be making a true promise, AND would a reasonable person thing there was truly a manifestation of mutual assent, AND would a reasonable person think there was intention for the contract NOT to be legally binding?

 

** The manifestation that the contract is legal need not occur, BUT the manifestation the contract is not legal must be mutually manifested.

 

Lucy v. Zimmer:  Friends at a bar made a land deal in which the ∆ says was a joke and the Π says was real.  Under the circumstances, was there a contract?  There was a formal written title (on a napkin), however you must only have the indication that a serious commitment is being made.  Thus, did the circumstances allow a reasonable person to believe there was a contract? 

 

Cohen v. Crowles:  The court was wrong when they ruled that there was no contract because there was no manifestation between the partie to make a legally binding promise.  This is unnecessary.  This manifestation is not needed.  The only thing needed is the seriousness of the agreement as determined by reasonable standard.

 

 

Offer

 

Restatement §24 defines offer:  An offer is a manifestation of willingness to enter into a bargain so made as to justify another person in understanding that his assent to that bargain is invited and will conclude it.

 

Was there a manifestation of commitment?  The offeree must know that he now has the power to seal the deal.  

Look to the parties manifestations:  what they did, said, write, not what they “thought”

 

Restatement §26: Signals that the proposed deal was not an offer:  if the offeree knows or has reason to know the offeror does not intent to conclude a bargain until he has made a further manifestation of assent.

 

Rule of Law:  For an offer to exist, the offeree must have the power to close the deal.

 

Advertisements:  general rule is that an advertisement is not an offer,

 

Exceptions exist if the advertisement is specific about how many advertisements are available, AND is the advertisement is specific about who can accept the offer

 

Price terms in AD and offers in general

 

UCC

Restatement

A communication can be an offer although there is a missing price term

Price term and description of real estate essential or there is no manifestation of mutual assent (no offer)

 

 

Offer dies:  three ways an offer can die:

Terminated (we focus on this here)- the offer is terminated if there was nothing said or done.  (Because an offer can be accepted verbally or by performance)  If there is no express time limit, the courts will impose a reasonable time limit for acceptance, otherwise the offer dies.

 

Revoked

 

 

Revocation of the general offer §46:  Where an offer is made by advertisement or in a newspaper or other general notification to the public, or to a number of persons whose identity is unknown to the offeror; the offerees power of acceptance is terminated when a notice of termination  is given publicity by advertisement or other general notification equal to that given to the offer, and no better means of notification is reasonably available.

Thus, when you use the same forum to revoke the offer as you used to make the offer, this is OK unless individual notification is reasonable.

 

 

Hypo:  If a form letter is used, there will not be an offer.  The response to the form letter will be the offer, EXCEPT, if the letter has an implied condition such as a first come, first serve clause, where the first responder thus has the power to close the deal.  Other wise, a person sending out a form letter, has the power to accept a responder (like an advertisement)  Missing terms may also indicate this is not an offer, such a missing price.  The sender of the letter (or ad) thus still has the power to accept an offer to buy at a particular price.

 

Hypo:  We are also looking to the objective manifestations of the offeror and the offeree.  Thus if the offeree knows he has received a from letter and that others have received one as well, there cannot be a valid binding offer. 

 

Donovan v. RRL:  Ad for a car where the price was a mistake.

General Rule:  Ad’s are not treated as offers unless certain exceptions exist because an ad does not specify amount, quantity etc.  Thus if 10,000 people accepted an offer and there was not enough to go around the offeror would be liable to all those who had “accepted” but not received.  (this is also why the exception exists for the implied condition of first come first serve)

We thus make the buyer responding to the as the offeror.

In this case, however, the ad contained certain clauses and exceptions that made the ad an offer.  The ad contained price, time limit the offer would expire, and there was a statute considering the ad an offer. 

Rule of Law:  Offer Test:

1)      Did the advertiser in clear and positive terms promise ot render a performance in exchange for something requested by the advertiser?

2)      Could the recipient of the advertisement reasonably have concluded that by acting in accordance with the request a contract would have been formed?

Rule of Law:  You can only accept an offer being made to you.

 

 

Lefkowitz:  Man comes into shop wanting to buy the bargained furs advertised.  The shop said the advertisement was not intended for men, and refused his acceptance.  (the man had previous knowledge that the ad was only for women.  Thus his knowledge that the ad is not being made to him = no offer.

 

Hypo:  Statute of Liberty Coins:  US minted coins were advertised, but ran out and were sued by those sending in an order (accepting).

The quantity is not listed.  You must have quantity listed in the advertisement. No quantity = no offer.  Another law besides contract law govern this such as the The Texas Deceptive Trade Practices Act.  Not contract law.

 

LaSalle National Bank v. Vega:  There was no deal because the ∆ did not have thepower to close the deal, thus his signature was not an acceptance.  It was really an offer because the bank had the last say and still had to sign.  Mel, therefore would also have the power to change paragraphs in the deal because he is the offeror.  The offeror is master if his offer.

 

 

 

Auction UCC 2-328: 

Sale is complete when auctioneer announces by fall of hammer, or in other customary manner

 

Where a bid is made during the fall of the hammer in acceptance of a prior bid, the auctioneer may in his discretion re-open the bidding or declare the goods sold

 

Auction with reserve- the auctioneer may withdraw the goods at any time prior to declaring completion of a sale

 

Auction without reserve- after the auctioneer calls for bidding to begin, the article or lot cannot be withdrawn unless no bid is made within a reasonable time.  (The bidder becomes the acceptor)

 

An auction is considered with reserve unless the auction explicitly puts up the items without reserve.

 

Bidder may retract his bid in either an auction with reserve or without reserve until the completion of a sale.  However, a bidders retraction does not revive any previous bid

 

 

 

Acceptance

 

When an offer has been made the offeree has the power to:

Create a contract

Reject the offer

Make a counteroffer

Once the offeree has accepted in the appropriate ways, the parties are locked into a binding contract.

 

Offer can be made expressly, implicitly, or by performance

 

Agents:  An agent has the same ability to accept as the offeree does.  The agent is the offeree

 

General Rule:  there is no contract unless the acceptance is communicated to the offeror.  But be careful with the rule because

 

 

Restatement Acceptance

 

The offeror has the power to state the terms upon which acceptance must be made

 

Restatement §56- Acceptance by promise:  Except as stated in §69 or where the offeror manifests a contrary intention, it is essential to an acceptance by promise either that the offeree exercise reasonable diligence to notify the offeror of acceptance or that the offeror receive the acceptance seasonably.

 

(When acceptance by silence okay:  §69- Where an offeree fails to reply to an offer, his silence and inaction operate as an acceptance in the following cases only:

 

Where the offeree takes the benefit of services and has the opportunity to reject them, and has reason to know they were offered with expectation of compensation

 

Where because of previous dealings it would be reasonable the offeree notify the offeror he does not intend to accept

 

An offeree’s conduct and action that is inconsistent with the offeror’s ownership of property that has been offered, will thus be bound in accordance with the offered terms unless they are manifestly unreasonable.)

 

Restatement§56 clearly:  So long as either the offeror makes reasonable efforts to accept (mail), or the offeree communicates acceptance to the offeror, a contract is made

 

Acceptance by performance: Restatement §53: 

 

  An offer can be accepted by the rendering of performance only if the offer invites such an acceptance.  This inviting can be expressed or implied.

 

Except as stated in §69, the rendering of a performance does not constitute an acceptance if within a reasonable time the offeree exercises reasonable diligence to notify the offeror of non- acceptance

 

Where an offer of a promise invites acceptance by performance and does not invite a promissory acceptance, the rendering of the invited performance does not constitute an acceptance if before the offeror performs his promise the offeree manifests his intention not to accept.

 

Acceptance by performance only ok if stated in contract

Once work or performance has commenced, there is a binding contract and the offeror cannot revoke.

 

Restatement§ 54- Acceptance by performance and necessity of notification to the offeror: 

 

When an offer invites an afferee to accept by performance, no notification of such performance is necessary unless the offer expressly says so

 

However, if the offeror has no means to learn of the performance there is no contract unless:

 

The offeree exercises reasonable diligence to notify the offeror of acceptance, or

 

The offeror learns of the performance within a reasonable time, or

 

The offeror indicated that notification of acceptance is not required.  This last element can be express indication of implicit.  The test is what would the reasonable offeree think?

 

 

 

 

Hypo:  In the case of Carbolic Smokeball (below) where there was a guarantee in an ad, the notification of acceptance could reasonably be thought of as waived, even though the company would have no means to learn of a consumer’s performance.  Although the ad did not expressly waive notification of acceptance by performance, the ad implicitly waived notification by a standard of what a reasonable offeree would think.

T.       

§32 Invitation of performance or promise- Incase there is doubt, an offer invites acceptance by promise or performance

 

Exception:  even if the contract does not expressly say that acceptance can occur by performance, once the offeror knows of the performance about to commence and it does, he cannot revoke

 

Ambiguous acceptance:  The acceptance must be a reasonable affirmative acceptance form the view of the objective reasonable person

 

Restatement §62- when the offeree has begun performance as acceptance this is treated as a promise to complete performance and a valid contract is created.

 

Hypo:  Men come to work on your house in which a form sent by them was filled out by the homeowners and sent back.  The homeowners then become the offerors and the builders the offeree.  Say there is no clause about performance being satisfactory as acceptance.  The offeror cannot revoke the offer once performance has begun, because it was reasonable the offeror would learn of the acceptance within a reasonable time. 

 

Hypo:  If however, the homeowner had called while the builders were on their way to the house, this would be a proper revocation of an offer because the offeror’s had not yet learned of the acceptance by performance.  As long as the offeror does not know of acceptance, they can revoke.

 

Hypo:  say the builders send someone out, and this performance is not acceptance, but deciding whether to accept or reject the offer to build.  However, say that inspector begins tearing shingles off the roof.  A reasonable offeror would view this as an acceptance of the offer and a binding contract would thus form.

 

 

UCC Acceptance

U.     

§2-206: Conforming goods: if an offer does not express that the acceptance must be made by promise, then a shipment of goods will be good acceptance and contract and the shipment can be conforming or non- conforming goods

Requirement of Seasonable Notification of non- conforming goods:  There will be liability however, unless there is a seasonable notification that the non- conforming goods are only meant as an accommodation to the buyer.  Thus non- conforming goods are still an acceptance of an offer (usually an order) because this is performance.  There catch is that the offeree must make a seasonable notification that the goods are non- conforming.  If no notification then there is a breach.

Seasonable:  this term is industry specific and depends on what would be a time in which such a notification would benefit the offeror or would be “too late” to prevent any harm.

* There must still be a reasonable acceptance.  For example, if the buyer ordered a drug and was sent an air conditioner this would not be acceptance.

 

 

 

§2-206:  Unless otherwise indicated by language or circumstances,

  • An offer to make a contract shall be construed as inviting acceptance in any manner and by any medium reasonable under the circumstances;

 

  • An order to buy goods for prompt or current shipment shall be construed as inviting acceptance either by prompt promise to ship, or by shipment of conforming or non- conforming goods, but such a shipment of non- conforming goods does not constitute an acceptance if the seller seasonably notifies the buyer that the shipment is offered only as an accommodation to the buyer.

 

  • Where the beginning of a requested performance is a reasonable mode of acceptance an offeror who is not notified of acceptance within a reasonable time may treat the offer as having lapsed before acceptance.

 

  • A definite and seasonable expression of acceptance in a record operates as an acceptance even if it contains terms additional to or different from the offer.

 

Hypo:  Buyer has a purchase order to buy a drug, however they know the drugs price is about to rise and the buyer orders 6,000 vials of the drug at the low price.  The seller refuses to fill the order in total, but sends a partial shipment along with a counteroffer for the rest of the order at a valid price.  The seller also says “seasonably” that the shipment is only an accommodation.  The buyer argues that performance was an acceptance if the offer at the lower price, but because the company sent the shipment only as an accommodation, this is considered full performance of non- conforming goods, and the rest of the order will be treated as a separate offer- acceptance goverened by the counteroffer of the seller for the higher price.

 

 

Q.    Restatement

Restatement §60- Acceptance if offer which states time, place, or manner of acceptance: 

If an offer prescribes the time, place, or manner of acceptance its terms in thos respect must be complied with in order to create a contract. 

 

If an offer merely suggests a permitted place, time or manner of acceptance, another manner of acceptance is not precluded

 

Hypo:  Ford gives an expressed manner of acceptance, for example a signed form.  Say however, shows up to perform. This could not be acceptance because the manner of acceptance has been expresses.  However, Allied’s conduct would be considered a counter- offer (changing the terms of acceptance) and Ford’s allowing Allied to begin work then becomes acceptance.

 

Carlill v. Carbolic Smokeball:  Have a company advertisement for a medical deviceand they propose a guarentee.  If anyone bought the smoke ball and then got the flu, the person would get a reward.  The offer was the advertisement.  The offer was made to anyone willing to adhere to the conditions set forth in the advertisement.  Acceptance of the offer was to smoke the ball, following the directions, however was getting the flu part of acceotance since it was a required condition of the offer?  No because an offer cannot impose a methodology of acceptance that if not an AFFIRMATIVE response by them.  The method of acceptance cannot be something we do as normal behavior (like breathing) or something not even calculated as an affirmative response.  Thus in this case, getting the flu could not be an affirmative acceptance and thus no contract.

 

 

R.    Offer of Reward

It is impossible of an offeree to accept an offer unless he knows of the offer’s existence at the time of performance. 

 

Hypo:  Woman gave  police info that led to an arrest, however when giving the information she was not aware that there was a reward.  Thus, there was no acceptance of the offer of a reward because she didn’t know about it.

 

Exception:

Restatement §51:  Effect of part performance without knowledge of the offer:  Unless the offeror manifests a contrary intention, an offeree who learns of an offer after he has rendered part of the performance requested by the offer may accept by completing the requested performance.

 

 

 

 

 

Acceptance Part II (when effective)

 

Restatement’s notification of non- acceptance §53:

  An offer can be accepted by the rendering of performance only if the offer invites such an acceptance.  This inviting can be expressed or implied.

 

Except as stated in §69, the rendering of a performance does not constitute an acceptance if within a reasonable time the offeree exercises reasonable diligence to notify the offeror of non- acceptance

 

Where an offer of a promise invites acceptance by performance and does not invite a promissory acceptance, the rendering of the invited performance does not constitute an acceptance if before the offeror performs his promise the offeree manifests his intention not to accept.

 

 

Restatement §53

UCC 2-206

#2:  It can look like someone has accepted but there exists a very short oeriod of time where you have an opportunity to correct a false signal of acceptance, and use this time period of non- acceptance. 

 

This rule is only valid for acceptance by performance and will not work if acceptance has been made by promise.

Where the seller sends non- conforming goods and has a time period that is “seasonable” to notify the buyer the goods are not an acceptance but an accommodation.

 

 

Mailbox Rule

 

Restatement §63 Unless the offer provides otherwise:

An acceptance made in a manner and by a medium invited by an offer is operative and completes the manifestation of mutual assent as soon as put out of the offerees possession, without regard to whether it ever reaches the offeror; BUT

 

An acceptance under an option contract is not operative until received by the offeror.

 

 

 

 

 

When the acceptance is dispatched, the offer is accepted

 

The acceptance must be properly dispatched, three ways and conditions for each way:

 

If an invited means, the acceptance is effective upon dispatchà This is an express or implicit response, what would be thought reasonable by the objective reasonable offeree.

 

If an unvited means, the acceptance is effective upon receiptà This is an unreasonable and unreliable means (carrier pidgeon)

 

If a prohibited means, there is never acceptanceà thus is a contract expressly gives only certain means of acceptance, any other means is prohibited.

 

 

Offer Revocation is effective upon receipt

 

Exception to mailbox when revocation of an offer is sent:  §40:

When revocation of an offer is sent, and an acceptance has been dispatched, the acceptance is only effective if it overtakes the revocation.  Thus the acceptance must be received by the offeror before the revocation is received by the offeree.  Basically, if a revocation is sent before an acceptance is received, then which ever arrives first wins.

 

Not withstanding the exception, acceptance effective upon dispatch, everything else upon receipt.

 

Mixed Signals

 

If the offeree sends a rejection to the offeror, changes his mind and sends an acceptance, the rule is which ever arrives first wins and is valid.  (Thus you could send a normal rejection but express mail an acceptance)

 

If the acceptance does not neat the rejection but arrives after the oferor receives the rejection, that acceptance becomes a counter- offer for the original offeror to accept.

 

Estopple in this mixed signal situation: 

Where the waters are muddied by rejection and accepting and the offeror wishes to rescind the contract, the offeree can be estopped from enforcing the contract where the offeror has relied to his detriment upon the back and forth rejections and acceptance.

 

 

Restatement

Acceptance by silence

Restatement §69

When acceptance by silence okay:  §69- Where an offeree fails to reply to an offer, his silence and inaction operate as an acceptance in the following cases only:

 

Where the offeree takes the benefit of services and has the opportunity to reject them, and has reason to know they were offered with expectation of compensation

 

Where because of previous dealings it would be reasonable the offeree notify the offeror he does not intend to accept

 

An offeree’s conduct and action that is inconsistent with the offeror’s ownership of property that has been offered, will thus be bound in accordance with the offered terms unless they are manifestly unreasonable.

 

Basically, if the reasonable offeror can conclude there has been an acceptance there is one

Most of the time a certain behavior along with silence must be one of action and not inaction

If one exercises dominion over something, the have bought it.

Exercising dominion over something is inconsistent with the owners possession.

 

Russell v. Texas:  Landowner gave oil company an offer to renew an easement which they did not respond to but continued use of the easement.  The contract also expressly stated that acceptance could be performed by continued drilling.  Because this was a renewal there is a more troublesome problem.  It would be an obvious acceptance if the company had never before used the easement and then suddenly began to use it, but here how do we know that this is really acceptance by peformance or simply ignoring the offer?  It does not matter.  Remember all that matters, is what is outwardly manifested not what intentions of the parties are.  The continued drilling was not ambiguous,  and was a particular behavior signaling acceptance.

 

 

Hypo:  Distinguish this from unjust enrichment and restitution:  You may be obligated if a pool company installs a pool in your yard (when you didn’t ask for it) but you still use it.  Thus you may have to pay because your manifestations show you accept.  If, on the other hand you didn’t use and you had a small child who could not swim, there would obviously be no acceptance.  There is an acceptance when the offeree exercises dominion over things which are offered without expressly or impliedly agreeing to the offer.

 

Hypo:  Someone comes to paint your house and you sit silently on your proch sipping lemonade, they pull up in a truck with paint and begin painting.  Even though you have said nothing, and have neither accepted or expressly rejected, your presence gives you an opportunity to reject.  Your silence is a promise to pay.

 

Hypo:  Distinguish the prior hypo to if you are not at home and do not have the opportunity to reject the “offer”.  If the paint had been purple and you hate it, then under the theory of unjust enrichment principles there may not be a contract at all.  (because you have not been enriched) 

 

Hypo:  You go to K-Mart and are eating a candy bar.  You have bought it by action because you exercised dominion.  This is inconsistent with the K-Marts ownership and possession.

 

**Hypo and §69 rules: You are on the loading dock at company there are cars.  The dock never ordered the cars, but you needed then for business.  You don’t know why they are there but you are glad to use them.  Under §69 you have thus exercised dominion and control over them, accepted the property and are bound to pay.  Finally the owner of the cars asks for them back, apologizing.  You say no, you are using them.  The owner then tells you the price which is way out of line for what a car would normally cost. 

 

1)      If the owner demands the market price this is manifestly reasonable and you owe that price.

2)      If the owner demands a price higher than mkt. price, but not unreasonable, you owe that price.

3)      If the owner demands a price manifestly unreasonable, you owe for the unjust enrichment, you owe the price of your benefit.

4)      However, this is also a tort and §69 says that the owner may only pursue one cause of action.  Thus if he goes for the tort, no contract.

 

Hypo:  A and Ozzie come onto B’s ranch and kill all of B’s cows.  A has exercised dominion over B’s property.  §69 says you have committed a tort AND you have created a contract by having to pay.  A reason to pursue the tort would be to recover punitive damages, which are not available under contract law.

 

Hypo:  Open mailbox with candle inside sent to you by sisters of the poor.  You light the candle.  The3y have asked for $25 or their candle back.  Under §69 you have exercised dominion and control. 

 

Ammons v. Williams:  Π books 6,000 lbs of shortening, makes the offer, and the offeree-supplier does nothing.  In this case the silence will be treated as an acceptance because the buyer relied on the sellers previous pattern of acceptance and in the meantime relied on acceptance and forwent to buy from anywhere else.  This is a case of previous dealings.

 

Smith v. Scarff:  “The case where the people are left holding the bag”  Buyer always buys its bags from seller who has buyers logo on the bags.  Due to previous dealings the manufacturer always keeps a stock of bags to be able to fill the order in a timely fashion.  The buyer changes names however, and does not want the bags.  They say they did not ask the company to print the extra bags and did not promise to pay for the extra bags.  The seller says there was an implied promise based on past dealings.  When there is not a clear cut deal, look to previous relationship to determine the implied promises. 

 

 

S.      UCC

 

UCC and the Ammons example 2-204:  the offer can be accepted by prompt shipment of conforming goods, or prompt promise to ship goods.  However this is not the case in Ammons.  Suppose the buyer offered to buy 942 cases of shortening, but the seller responds that he can only ship 800 cases.  This is thus a counteroffer.  Supose the buyer initially says no to this counteroffer, but the seller ships the 800 cases anyway.  The buyer then accepts them without objection.  2-204 (2) states:

 

An agreement sufficient to constitute a contract for sale may be found even though the moment of its making is undertermined.  Thus the buyers non- objection would make a contract at least for the 800 cases. 

 

Now suppose that the seller of the 942 cases never ships nor promises to ship.  Would his failure to reject within a reasonable time considered an acceptance?  The answer depends on whether the seler has agreed to the buyers proposed bargain and this turns on how one uses the prior course of dealings between the parties

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Restatement §69

UCC §

Silence OK when:

  1. Offeree takes benefit (dominion and control) and has reasonable opportunity to reject, and has reason to know compensation expected

 

  1. The offeror stated silence OK

 

  1. Previous dealings make it reasonable that silence = accept and intention not to accept = must notify

 

    • Must be ratified by him (chooses K over tort)

 

    • Enjoyment of svcs.
    • Past behavior
    • Exercise dominion over property
    • Unless terms are unreasonable (then still owe what your benefit was)

 

 

 

Contract for sale of goods may be made in any manner sufficient to show agreement including conduct by BOTH parties which recognized the existence of such a contract.  (past dealings)

 

Ex:  Scharff paper stored bags for buyer.  They did this for 36 years which shows an implied contract,

 

*here, you do not need to know the moment of of making the K.

 

UCC????

If you have accepted by silence you have 10 days to reject the offer or a reasonable time according to the industry

Counteroffer

T.     Restatement

Restatement §38 Rejection

An offerees power of acceptance is terminated by his rejection of the offer, unless the offeror has manifested a contrary intention

A manifestation not to accept and offer (to reject it) is a rejection UNLESS the offeree manifests an intention to take it under advisement.

 

That you are taking the offer under advisement and not rejecting it must be outwardly manifested

 

Must distinguish between a request for different terms and a demand for different terms.

 

If the “acceptance” merely requests alternative, different, or additional terms, but still accepts even if those terms are rejected there is still an acceptance and the additional terms become offers of their own to be accepted or rejected (§ 61) BUT

 

If the “acceptance”  is conditioned upon the addition of the new terms, this is a rejection of the offer and becomes a counteroffer. 

 

When there is a counteroffer, the original offer dies.

 

 

Restatement §61:  Acceptance which requests change of terms:

An acceptance which requests a change of terms of the offer does not invalidate the offer unless the acceptance must acceot the new terms. 

 

Hypo:  Buyer inquires about commodity for price quotations.  Seller gives particular price at particular quantity which is an offer.  (involving specific quantity between 2000 and 5000 tons) and price at $54 per gross tons.  The buyer, however orders less than what was offered in the range, only 1200 tons.  The seller can refuse because it has become a counter offer and not an acceptance because the quantity is different.  The buyer then turns around and accepts the original offer at the original price.  The court rules this original offer is gone, dead and killed by the counter offer.  Thus there is nothing for the buyer to accept.

 

Hypo:  What if in the prior hypo the buyer had demanded the quantity of 1200 instead of the 2000-3000 tons (which is a counteroffer) and the seller replies that they will not sell at that price.  The buyer immediately replies they will take the original offer.  This would probably be considered a second offer by the seller (a counteroffer to the buyers counteroffer) because the seller manifested an intention to continue bargaining.

 

Restatement §39 Counteroffer

A counteroffer is an offer made by an offeree to his offeror relating to the same matter as the original offer and proposing a substituted bargain differing from that proposed by the original offer

An offerees power of acceptance is terminated by his making of a counteroffer unless the offeror has manifested a contrary intention or unless the counteroffer manifests a contrary intention of the offeree.

 

 

Thus there are two possible scenarios:

It can be a counteroffer if related and viod the original offer

 

I can be a separate offer unrelated and the original offer still stands

 

Hypo:  Seller offers steel rails for $5,000.  Buyer wants steel rails and iron rails.  Seller says they don’t have iron rails, and the buyer proposes a 3% finders fee for any iron rails they can find.  Seller rejects this proposal to find the rails for the buyer.  Buyer then says okay, he will take the original offer.  Was the intervening proposal an effective counteroffer and thus a rejection of the original offer?  NO.  It was a completely separate offer, and the original offer still stands.

 

 

U.     UCC 2-207

Example leading up to 2-207:

 

A buys lumber and B sells the lumber.  The fact we do not sit down at a table and hammer out the details of a contract is standard.  We have form contracts.  Each parties form is tailored to protect that party’s interests.  Assume A starts the ball rolling with a purchase order.  (offer) Seller receives the purchase order- offer and sends the standard acceptance agreement form letter. 

Now suppose the buyer, A, wants out of the deal.  A uses the fact the buyers acceptance had different terms in his standard acceptance form than the terms in her standard purchase order form.  A says B’s acceptance is really a counter offer. 

Or, say the seller, B, wants out of the deal, uses the differing terms in the form letters and says his letter was really a counteroffer, he had rejected the original offer, and A had never accepted.

But say the lumber was actually shipped and we thus had a contract based upon performance and acceptance.  (The offeror/ offeree is no longer important because there is a deal based on manifested behavior)

The shipped lumber, however, has wood rot.  A’s terms in her purchase order make the buyer responsible for such a circumstance.  B’s acceotance form, however, disclaims liability for wood rot.

The rule is the last offer made (out of all the offers and counter offers) wins.  Thus the buyer would be the ultimate offeree because they acceoted the offerors counteroffer with dfferent terms by accepting the shipment.  Basically the last document sent dictates the deal. However, we could potentially have a back and forth never ending sending of forms.à 2-207 gives us a new set of rules!

 

 

 

 

 

First, we use restatement rules for offer. We assume here that someone has been made an offer

2-207:  Additional Terms in acceptance or Confirmation

A definite and seasonable expression of acceptance or a written confirmation which is sent within a reasonable time operates as an acceptance even though it states terms different or additional to those offered or agreed upon, unless acceptance is expressly made conditional on assent to the different or additional terms

 

The additional terms are to be construed as proposals for addition to the contract.  Between merchants, Such terms become part of the contract unless:

The offer expressly limits acceptance to the terms of the offer;

They materially alter it; or

Notification of objection to them has already been given or is given within a reasonable time after notice of them is received.

 

Conduct by both parties which recognizes the existence of a contract is sufficient to establish a contract for sale although the writings of the parties do not otherwise establish a contract.  In such a case, the terms of the particular contract consist of those particular terms on which the writings of the parties agree, together with any supplementary terms incorporated under any other provisions of this act.

 

 

 

 

2-207(1)- tells us if we have a contract

If an acceptance is reasonably construed as such, even if it contains a new term, it will be treated as such.

 

 

However, if the “counteroffer” expressly says that the new terms are essential to the assent, it will be treated as a counter offer and 2-207(2) does not apply,à

 

Go to 2-207(3) if performance upon the counteroffer is acceptance by conduct (shipment and payment for goods)

 

2-207(2)- Tells us what to do with the additional terms

First- determine if the buyer AND seller are merchants.

 

If no- the additional terms are just proposals tht must be agreed to.  The contract is valid as far as all matching terms, however the additional terms become “offers” in themselves awaiting acceptance.  The other can thus reject the additional proposals or accept the additional terms.  The core contract, however remains valid.

 

If both parties are merchants, and the additional “proposals” automatically become part of the contract UNLESS:

The offer expressly says the additional terms must be accepted

 

The additional terms materially alter it; such as price or quantity.  (only case where there need not be an expressed objection)

Material altering term Hypo:  it is a significant element of the exchange bargained for by the party.  If the term would result in surprise or hardship to the party, it is material.  Surprise can be defined in reference to the reasonable person in light if common practice and usage.  Hardship means the term imposes an unbargained for burden, or detracts significantly from the reasonable expectations of the party.

 

The other party expressly objects to the terms

 

Notice that this only includes additional terms and not additional and different terms as in the first section.  There is a different rule- the knockout doctrine for different terms.

 

2-207(3)- where CONDUCT (and not a writing) is sufficient to establish a contract

In this case although the writings do not themselves = a K, the writings in existence will be used and the terms within the writings that agree will be the basis of the contract.  The rest of the terms will be added by UCC fillers and default.

 

Thus, even if a counter- offer occurs because the offeree has expressly said that the additional terms must be accepted or no contract (2-207(1) caveat), if performance appears to be an acceptance of that counteroffer such as delivery and payment of goods, conduct of the parties would thus establish a contract.  According to 2-207(3) the writings of the parties would form the contract and the additional provisions (such as a disclaimer) would be thrown out.

 

Putting it all together:

We really don’t care who is the offferor and who is the offeree (unless an express counter offer is made)

 

Determine if the parties are merchants

 

Find the additional and different proposals

 

The proposals are then either accepted or rejected depending on the status of the parties, if the terms are material, and if they are expressly objected to, and the contract already limits its acceptance to the terms stated.

 

2-207(1) Hypos:

Hypo:  2-207(1) replies that are clearly not an acceptance:  Buyer writes to seller offering to buy a gun for $450 COD, delivery in 30 days and requiring acceptance by Friday.  Seller sends acceptance the following Monday, this is not seasonable and it is a rejection or a counteroffer.

 

Hypo:  If the seller above responded in time, but the response states, “thank you for your order, unfourtanetly we no longer stock the gun.  However, we have a similar gun you can have on the same terms.  This response proposes a different sale of goods than those ordered = no acceptance and a counteroffer.

 

Hypo:  If the seller above responded on time with, “your order is accepted on the condition that you agree to indemnify us for any claims of injury arising out of the use of the goods above”  No acceptance because the acceptance is only good is the new term is accepted.  Assent conditional upon the new term.  This is also a counteroffer.

 

2-207(2) Hypos:

 

Knockout Doctrine

 

When you have a clear cut offeror and offeree, and the acceptance has different terms that contradict each other (as opposed to additional terms)

 

Only for merchants

 

The terms will knock out each other, and that term will no longer be apart of the contract.

 

You then look to the default rule to give you your missing term

 

The majority rule is that we then look to the industry standard to determine the gap filling term.

 

Only applies when terms contradict each other, not when they are additional

 

Hypo:  Have a contract where a buyer sends in a purchase order and a standard agreement is sent back, however, the purchase order ordered red widgets and the acceptance acceptance an order for blue widgets.  The color term is knocked out and does not exist.  What ever is the industry norm, green widgets becomes our color term in the contract.

 

 

Additional Terms

Restatement

UCC 2-207 and Knockout

 

Mirror image rule

 

Demand new term v. suggest the new term but still accept the deal

 

2-207

Contract?  (performance or form letter)

Only need reasonable acceptance and cant have demand for additional or different terms (then it’s a counter offer)

 

Merchants?

If yesà additional terms stay unless 3 exceptions

 

If noà additional terms gone unless accepted

What are the additional terms?

 

If both merchants and…

If there was acceptance by conduct, or acceptance of the counteroffer by conduct, the contract before the counteroffer made becomes the contract and any additional terms gone.

 

Terms that contradict gone

Gaps filled with industry norm

 

 

Revocation of offer or acceptance

 

Restatement § 43:  Indirect communication of revocation:

An offerees power of acceptance is terminated when the offeror takes definite action inconsistent with an intention to enter into a proposed contract and the offeree acquires reliable information to that effect.

 

The offer’s retraction need not be expressed or an actual withdraw, as long as the offeree has information that tells him there is no longer an offer.  Thus if the offeree does not know that an offer has been revoked or of the offerors intention to withdraw, the offeror is still bound until such an intention is made known to the offeree.

 

Dickenson v. Dodds:  Seller dealing in property and makes an offer to sell to buyer.  “this offer to be held over until Friday at 9pm.”  (This is not a option contract because there is no consideration).  Buyer goes to his mother in law’s and tells her he is going to accept the offer.  Buyer at this point learns the seller has sold to someone else.  Buyer sends an agent, Berry, to the train station to accept the offer.  He sends the agent so that the seller cant revoke the offer upon seeing the buyer before the agent has a chance to accept the offer.  Agent notifies the seller that buyer accepts, but it is already too late.  Because the buyer KNEW the seller had sold the property, there was no longer an offer.  Because of the sellers conduct and the buyers knowledge of this conduct the offer was effectively revoked.

 

Restatement §46: Revocation of general offer:  When you use the same forum to revoke an offer as you used to make the offer (newspaper, advertisement, or to a number of persons whose identity is unknown)  revocation in that same forum is OK as long as it is unreasonable to identify each individual.

 

Thus, if an offeror revokes verbally to a group of people, this is OK.

 

Restatement §41:  Lapse of time as revocation: 

An offerees power is acceptance is terminated at the time specified in the offer, or if no time specified, at the end of a reasonable time.

Reasonable time = a question of fact depending on all circumstances

An offer is seasonably accepted if an acceptance is mailed at any time before midnight on the day which the offer is received.

Lapse of time rule of thumb:  when the object to be achieved by the offer can no longer be achieved, the offer has lapsed. 

Examples of lapse of time:

At 5pm

“Upon acceptance by someone else”

“Upon apprehension of the suspect”

 

Revocation by death: Restatement § 48:An offerees power is acceptance is terminated when the offeree of offeror dies or is deprived of legal capacity to enter into the proposed contract.

Notice of knowledge of death is not required

Offer automatically revoked

If it is an option K, then death does not revoke the offer

Must distinguish between an already formed contract and one dying and a mere offer (without acceptance and one dies)

 

Offers are revokeable as long as the offeror beats the acceptance and there is no option contract.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Option Contract

“You may exercise the option” = you may accept the offer

 

An option  contract occurs when there is consideration given to keep the offer open.  It is a contract upon an offer for another contract.

 

 

Even in that face of a counteroffer by the offeree, as long as that counteroffer if made within the option period, the offer is kept open until it lapses due to said event, said time, or reasonable time if nothing stated.

 

Hypo:  Say the offeree has two days left in the option period and at that time expressly rejects the offer.  The next day however he changes his mind and accepts the offer.  Technically, the offer is still open.  However, be careful in this case because the offeror can claim estopple in the face of the offeree’s initial rejection if the offeror has relied on this rejection and offered and created a contract with someone else.  Not considering estopple, however, his offer is still open.

 

Hypo:  What if the $50 which is the consideration for the option has not yet changed hands, but promised in the terms of the contract.  This is okay and is still an option.

 

 

Restatement

How to tell what consideration is for option:

Restatement §87:  Option Contract:

An offer is binding as an option contract if it:

Is in writing and signed by the offeror, recited a purported consideration for the making of the offer, and proposes an exchange on fair terms within a reasonable time; OR

Is made irrevocable by statute

An offer which the offeror should reasonably expect to induce action or forbearance of a substantial character on the part of the offeree before acceptance and which does induce such action or forbearance is binding as an option contract to the extent necessary to avoid injustice

Thus option binding if:

Signed in writing

Signed by an offeror

Recited purported consideration

Proposes fair exchange on fair terms

W/in a reasonable time

V.     UCC

2-205 Firm Offer- sale of goods only!

 

Offeror must be a merchant

Offeree need not be a merchant

Must be manifested in a signed writing

The terms promises it will be held open (promises not to revoke)

Option period=

If the option states within its terms the perios to keep the option open with a 3 month max.

If not stated, then a reasonable time with a 3 month max.

If the offeree drafts the language where by the offer is made to him, then the offeror must separately sign the option portion (must sign twice)

If you meet all four requirements:

Merchant makes offer

Manifested in signed writing whose terms gives assurance it will be kept open

Time limited to 3 months

Offeror has separately signed the option portion of the writing (if the offeree drafted the writing)

Then you have a valid option contract where no consideration is necessary.

Hypo:  The exam likes to give an example, but keep out the express promise to keep the offer open.  Watch for this!!

 

 

Unilateral contract and options

 

Option contract created by part performance or tender:  Restatement §45

Where an offer invites an offer to acceot by rendering a performance and does not invite a promissory acceptance, an option contract is created when the offeree tenders or begins the invited performance or tenders the beginning of it.

The offerors duty of performance under any option contract so created is conditional on completion or tender of the invited performance in accordance with the terms of the offer.

 

In this case acceptance can ONLY be done by performance.  “This offer can be accepted only by performance”

 

When the party begins performance, the offer becomes irrevocable.

Paterson v. Pattberg:  If you get together a fixed amount of money and bring it to me by a certain time, then that will satisfy the total debt you owe me.  The offeror said if the offeree could come up with the principle owed on the mortgage by May 31, that would e enough to pay off the mortgage owed.  The offeree comes to the house and announces his presence and that he is there to pay the principle.  Offeror says he has already given the mortgage to someone else (revoking the discount)  Because revocation occurs before acceptance there is no contract.  In this case acceptance = payment.  This was the only type of acceptance, the performance of paying the princiuple and thus was a unilateral contract.  However, you could argue under the rule that the gathering of the $ made the partial performance irrevocable.

 

“Partial performance” is indicated by the detrimental reliance rule:

**Remember that §45 only creates the option

If the partial performance is indicated by detrimental relaiance, we have an option (to accept or reject the offer, but the performer still has the power to reject the offer)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bilateral Contract and Option

Where the offer has been relied on

 

When there is an exchange of pledges or at least the option of an exchange of pledges, we have a bilateral contract

 

In terms of exam question:  When you see a general contractor relying on the sub contractors offer, that reliance makes the sub contractors offer irrevocable.    (bid = offer)  The consideration for the sub to keep his offer open comes when the general contractor makes his offer for the job.

 

Restatement §87 (2)

 

This is not §90 because it is an offer and not a promise.  The difference between an offer and a promise is that an offer is a conditional promise which only becomes a promise after someone accepts.  BUT

 

§90 comes in if you say the promise by the subcontractor to keep the offer open was an implied promise and was relied upon by the general contractor in making his bid for a job. 

Foreseen by subcontractor

Reliance by general

Detriment to general

Unjust

Thus we can estopp the sub from claiming there is no consideration for his promise not to revoke the offer.

But instead of using §90 we use §87(2).  They are the same except §90 gives damages while §87(2) only makes an offer irrevocable!

If you make an offer that you reasonably foresee as inviting reliance of a substantial character then it is an option contract if justice requires it to be so under §87(2)

 

Rule:  using a sub’s bid in a general’s main bid is not acceptance.

 

§87(2) applies to both bilateral and unilateral while §45 only applies to unilateral

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Hypo:  A wants B to attend a certain of AA meetings, and attend them in Dallas for which A will give B money.  Thus before the first meeting you must get to Dallas.  Yu get on the airplane and go.  A revokes the offer before you begin attending the meeting.  A says that you have not begun your performance and thus you cannot bind him to his offer.  Although this is a unilateral contract (acceptance only available upon completion of attending the meetings) and §45 does not apply because you have not begun to perform, you can apply §87(2).  Thus

  • A could reasonably foresee relance of a substantial character in that you went to Dallas
  • Justice would require the offer be held open upon completion of the meetings.

 

 

Electrical v. Maeda:  Sub makes the general contractor promise that if the sub is the lowest bidder, then the general will use him.  The general contractor is awarded the job, but finds someone else to do the job in place of the subcontractor. 

Holding:  The general’s promise to stay with the sub if he was the lowest bidder was not consideration because there was already a pre- existing legal duty by §87(2).  §87(2) already makes the subcontractors promise not to revoke a duty.  Thus, there cannot be consideration for a pre existing legal duty.

 

 

§90

§87(2)

§45

2-205

Applies to promises, not offers.

 

An offer is a conditional promise, not a “contract” that estopps claiming of no consideration.

Applies to both uni and bilateral

 

Forbearance or inaction must be of a substantial character (did not seek any other bids; based main bid on the sub’s bid)

 

Writing requirement

 

Injustice avioded

 

 

 

Applies only to unilateral

 

Must have partial performance

 

Has nothing to do with injustice

 

Performance does not have to be substantial in any way

Sale of goods

 

Firm offer

 

Requirement of writing

 

No consideration

 

Offeror = merchant

 

Signed twice

 

Terms expressly hold offer open

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Indefinite Terms

Restatement §33:  Certainty: 

Even though a manifestation of intention is intended to be understood as an offer it cannot be accepted so as to form a contract unless the terms of the contract are reasonably certain

Terms are reasonably certain if they provide the basis for determining the existence of a breach, and for giving an appropriate remedy.

The fact that one or more terms are left open or uncertain may show that a manifestation of intention is not intended to be understood as an offer or as an acceptance.

 

First must ask:  Did the parties intent that in the event of this open term there would be a contract to be negotiated, or would there not be a contract.   When not dealing with goods, courts will often find parties did not intend a contract when price is at issue.

Intention to be bound can be evidenced by partial performance

Parties that have made their agreement “subject to” have manifested an intent not to be bound in the event of an unagreed term (see Empro)

 

Empro v. Ball:  Parties were negotiating agreement with a clause that expressly said, until the terms were agreed upon there was no contract.  The ∆ jumps ship and the party who added the clause actually wants the contract enforced.  Court says no, the express term manifests an intent not to be bound.

 

Jospeh v, Shumacher:  Next years rent in the contract “to be agreed upon”, however the landlord asks for $300 than the previous year.  Court says market price not the only way to determine price.  The court would not fashion a contract for the parties becase this was such a material term.

 

 

Unless a promise is certain to a reasonable certainty, the courts will not know how to enforce it.  Varney v. Ditmars:  employee promised a fair share of the profits if he worked overtime.  He did so up to a point, fell ill, was fired, but came back to fulfill and receive his fair share of the profits.  What was “fair share”?  The court could use unjust enrichment (restitution) to solve this problem.  Thus although the term is hopelessly vague, could use unjust enrichment to solve the problem.

 

Why would one leave a K vague? 

 

Might not have enough info at then time

Problem might not ever come up

Ignorance- we didn’t ever think about it

B/c it may break the deal

 

There is always an implied promise to negotiate the missing erm in good faith, this is why courts still enforce the contract

UCC 2-204

Even if one or more terms in a K for sale are left open it does not fail for indefinitness if the parties have intended to make a contract and there is a reasonably certain basis for giving an appropriate remedy.

 

UCC GAP FILLERS:

Price = the reasonable price at the time of delivery

Quantity = if no prior course of dealing = no contract

All goods are to be delivered at one time, not in several lots

The buyer has the option of selection the assortment of goods, the seller has the option of determining the specifications relating to shipment

The seller has a reasonable time to make delivery.  Any act whose time of not specified is a reasonable time

Place of delivery for a non – commercial sale and for the commercial sale where no place of delivery was agreed upon is determined by the following rules:

If the contract is for the sale of identified goods, and the parties know the location of those goods, that location is the place if delivery

If rule 1 is not applicable, the seller’s place of business or his residence is the place of delievery.

This rule is not applicable if the deal can be interoreted as requiring or authorizing the seller to ship to the buyer.

If the agreement authorizes the seller to send the goods to the buyer, the seller could use documents of title and ship under reservation

Payment of price is due upon receipt of goods, subject to buyers right to inspect the goods.

 

Three things the courts look for to determine an indefinite term: 

 

Dealings under the contract:  parties that had dealings under the contract before where a particular pattern has been manifested and will tell the court about why the terms are the way they are.

 

Dealing from prior contract:  Parties have not begun to perform under the contract yet, but they have dealt with each other before and the missing term was X.

 

Usage of trade:  what does not market tell us about what people are likely to employ as a term.

 

One term, however, often proves fatal- quantity

However, if parties have dealt with each other for the past ten years ordering 100 widgets at x-mas, then the court will likely set the quantity at 100.

 

Missing price:

Courts will not enforce (mostly services)

Use fair market value

Use industry standard

Get a mediator

 

 

Remedies and Estopple where agreements incomplete or indefinite:

 

Hoffman v. Redowl:  P wanted to franchise store from ∆ and negotiated with the chain to obtain and manage a store.  ∆ said everything fine and gave Π conditions that he buy a small store to gain experience, and he put forth 18,000. Π did so, however this was not enough.  Π finally says he is entitled to have the promise to give the franchise enforced.  However, the  terms of the franchise are not yet settled and we don’t know what the damages would be, thus we use promissory estopple.

Π was made a promise

Π relied to  his detriment

∆ foresaw

Unjust

The remedy here is reliance.

 

 

Statute of Frauds

Requirement of a writing

 

This is an additional requirement atop consideration

 

What is a writing? UCC 1-201 (39) gives definition of a signature

Using any symbol executed or adopted with present intention to adopt or accept a signed writing.

Includes a letterhead, stamp, e-mail

 

 

 

Writing requirements that are not apart of the S of F:

2-205 Firm Offer

Restatement §87(2)

These are a replacement for consideration, however, the S of F must also have consideration.

 

 

Catagories Inlcude:

Surety agreements:  A third party agrees to be secondarily liable for the obligations of another (co- signer)

 

John Deer seller willing to sell a tractor to a young buyer.  The seller will sell to buyer, who will be the primary, however, the rich old unlce must agree to be the co- signer (co- obligor)

 

Consideration exists for the uncle’s signature in the promise that if the nephew defaults on his payments, the dealer will not repossess the tractor.

 

Exception of Novation-  Nephew will be released from obligation if the unlce will agree to sign on.  This is not an assurity agreement because at no time are there more than two parties.

 

Exception of main Purpose-  When someone agrees to be secondarily laible, is his main purpose to do so inviolved his own interests. 

 

For example:  Man runs major corporation and wants to buy a bunch of scrap junk.  The seller says that because the company is not very solid, the man as an individual must stand behind the promise to pay.  The man is really protecting his interests, thus is the mans promise as an individual is oral it will be enforceable nonetheless

 

Contracts not to be performed within one year of their making/ Contracts to be performed outside of one year

 

Test:  could you possible do it within one year?   If yes then the S of F does not apply

 

Indefinite term of time- the contract does not fall w/in S of F because by its term it does not cover more than one year

 

It does not have to be likely, such as building a nuclear power plant, only possible

 

Full Performance Exception:  When one party has fully performed the S of F does not apply.  See Mason

 

It does not matter whose performance would take more than one year, however, the full performance exception only voids the S of F when the Π has fully performed.

 

If you have more than one provisions that fall within the SOF, then the Π’s full performance will render one of the provisions free from the SOF, however, all other provisions still fall within the SOF. 

Ex:  You sell an object over $500 and a doctor promises to effectuate a medical cure, and you want to sell balckacre, and you plan to fertalize the land for two years.  Each of these provisions is under the S of F in this circumstance.

 

Hypo:  If you have a store and you need Christmas help in the store.  You will pay the help $500 per day, and this is for next Christmas, so it is over one year away.  There is an oral agreement to enter into the employment contract.  This is within the S of F because because if we do it TODAY, the contract cannot be completed until over one year from today, even though the contract only comes within two weeks of labor.

 

Mason v. Anderson:  Π loaned ∆ $5000 who was to pay $200 per month back to the Π.  Based on this payment schedule, this would take more than one year and the S of F would apply to make the re-payment enforceable.  The ∆ dies and the estate refuses to continue the repayment.  Court says the S of F does not apply when one of the parties has fully performed. 

 

Sale of land:

Exception:  A lease for land that is not within one year if not within the S of F.

 

Land = minerals, fixtures, structures, as long as they are not severed.

 

If the minerals are severed by the buyer then a land deal:

 

If the seller severs the minerals or structures, they are treated as goods

 

If the buyer severs he minerals of structures, it is a land deal

 

Crops are always goods

Partial performance exception applies for the buyer only

Must be extreme reliance

Ex:  Must have been behavior that makes sense because there must have been a contract. Thus if buyer comes onto land, moves there and builds a house, this partial performance will not require a writing for the land sale. 

 

Contract for sale of goods over $500

 

If a lease, requires $1000 and up

 

Any contract for 50,000 and up must have a writing

 

$500 does not have to be the price expressed in the contract, Must only be s sale reasonable over $500

 

If the sale of goods over $500 exists, the S of F applies to the whole contract and not just the sale of goods

 

Goods v. Service:

 

Goods = movable at the time of identification of the contract for sale

 

Test:  Which ever is the predominant aspect of the agreement determines if it is a good or a service

 

Ex:  Haircut but you also get shampoo and hair style products.  The service is the predominate aspect and the S of F does not apply.

 

Even if the contract is predominately service and the goods involved is over $500.

 

Construction contracts are service agreements

 

 

 

 

 

Requirements of a writing:

 

The contract need only be signed by the party charged with the breach.:  (thus if the party writes a letter backing out of an oral agreement for over $500 worth of soy beans, this signed letter is good enough to satisfy the S of F

 

The signature can occur before or after the contract (see above example)

 

Does not have to be signed with the intent to create a memorabilia of a contract, can simply be a signed writing (can be a writing for other business purposes such as a receipt or memorandum)

 

As long as the piece of paper acknowledges the existence of a contract

 

Elements of the writing:

The writing must state the parties,

Recognize the existence of a contract,

Include essential terms

More than one document that reflects essential terms is okay

All of the written documents do not have to be signed, only the document reflecting the existence of a contract must be signed

The unsigned written documents reflecting the terms must on its face refer to the same transaction

 

 

Hypo:  You have a signed writing that is an offer. And another signed writing that accepts the contract.  Thus you have offer and acceptance for a sale of goods over $500, however you have two separate documents that shows a contract.  This is good enough.  The contract is established by the two documents and both are signed.

 

Hypo:  If you lose the signed writing this is okay, as long as there was at one time a writing along with the deal.

 

If a party admits the existence of a contract, the S of F is overcome

If a party admits in a pleading, or in oral testimony that there was a contract but it is not enforceable because there was no writing, the argument is moot and the S of F is overcome.

 

Borwn:  Π wanted chair and ∆ denied any existence of a contract.

UCC 2-201 (3) Customized Goods: 

A K which does not satisfy the requirements of a writing for goods over $500, but which is valid in other respects is enforceable IF:

 

The manufacturer has begin to make the goods, or

The manufacturer has procured the means to make the goods

 

The goods are specifically made for the buyer

If the seller admits the K was made

 If payment (partial pmt) has been accepted for the goods.

 

S of F and estopple:  Know these three situations:

 

A and B enter into land deal.  A tells B they need a writing and B makes promise and date to execute writing.  Before that time, B challenges the enforceability of the contract.  à estopple will enforce the promise to make a writing

 

Land deal.  A tells B need writing.  B says no we don’t need a writing the oral agreement is good enough.  B later challenges the enforceability of the contract because it is within the S of F and has no writing. à estopple will enoforce B’s promise that they did not need a writing.  S of F becomes moot and does not apply based on B’s statement.

 

Land deal.  A tells N we need writing,  B agrees that S of F normally applies, but A and B make a deal between themselves that the S of F will not apply. The enforceability of the deal is at issue and B claims S of F.  B cannot hide behind SOF. 

 

More often SOF and estopple is applied this way:  Restatement §139

S of F is never an issue spoken of, A arranges his affairs relying on the land deal and B claims no contract because of S of F. 

If all of your reliance equities are in place you can use estopple. 

The difference between §139(2) and §90 is that §139 tells gives us factors how and when “injustice requires a remedy”

The availability and adequacy of restitution

How far out on a limb has the relying party gone?

Where action or forebearance corroborates evidence of the terms of a deal.

The reasonableness of the action of forebearance

The extent the forebearance was foreseeable by the promisor.

 

 

Infants

 

Void v. Voidable:  A contract is voidable at the election of a minor, however, unless the minor chooses to disaffirm, the contract is not void.

 

Minors do not have the capacity to enter into the contract and have the ability to disaffirm at anytime.

 

It does not matter if the adult did not know the minor was not of age

 

Misrepresentation of age:  minor says he is 19 and is really 15.

Minor will be liable in tort

Minority: protect a minor in any situation, just as we don’t make him liable for the ultimate pledge, we don’t make him responsible for the lie upon the pledge.

 

Majority:  Allows the dealer compensatory damages to put dealer where he was before the deal was struck.  Thus is the adult is at any loss he can recover, but there is never any expectation (from what he would have received if the contract were completed)

 

Texas Rule:  applies estopple to the misrepresenting minor.  Thus the minor will be estopped from denying he is 19 and he will be held as an adult.  But in using estopple the reliance upon the expectation must be reasonable.

 

Restoration not Restitution- To rescind a contract, a minor does not have to return the value of the benefit conferred.  The minor must return whatever he still has,  but does not have to repay what was lost to return adult to position he was in before the deal.

 

Ex:  a wrecked car (does not have to repair)

If a service or a consumable the minor would give nothing back

 

 

 

 

Restitution available for necessaries:  (to avoid a chilling affect and allow minors to be able to obtain necessaries such as food)

 

Necessary- legal services, food, medical services

Not enforcing a contract, only giving restitution

 

 

Ratification- when minor reaches 18

When a minor makes a subsequent promise to pay for a promise he made as a minor, there is no consideration, and there does not need to be.  The pledge is enforceable.

 

Ratification can be expressed or implied.  Implied performance occurs through continued performance of the obligation after the minor reaches adult age. (such as continued paying of a debt)

 

For a reasonable period of time after reaching 18, the minor can renounce the contract

 

Co- Signer- most minors must have a co-signer

Co-signer v. co- promisor- a signer must sign while a promisor must only pledge.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mental Incompetence

Cognitive Test:  key word

Mental capacity can come and go, have good days and bad days, the question is the mental capacity at the time the deal was struck.

 

Restatement §15- Mental Illness of defect:

A person incurs voidable contractual duties by entering into a transaction if by reason by mental disease of defect

 

He is unable to understand in a reasonable manner the nature and consequences of his actions, (cognitive test) OR

He is unable to act in a reasonable manner in relation to the transaction AND the other party has reason to know of the condition

 

Where the contract os made on fair terms and the other party does not know of the mental defect, the power of avoidance terminates to the extent the contract has been so performed in whole or in part or the circumstances have changed so that avoidance would be unjust.

 

Thus, under (a), the other parties knowledge of the illness is irrelevant, while under (b) it is necessary

 

Under this defense, the seller is entitled to restitution even if the contract can be avoided

 

Contract must have fair terms

 

The other party cannot know she was siffering form defect

 

Adjudicated incompetents:  The burden shifts to the ∆ to prove that she is fine, otherwise the burden is upon the party claiming mental illness.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Intoxication

Restatement §16: Intoxicated persons:  A person only avoids contractual duties by entering into a transation if the ther party has reason to know that by reason of intoxication

He is unable to understand in a reasonable manner the nature and consequences of his action, or

he is unable to act in a reasonable manner in relation to the transaction

 

This is an objective test:  the other party must know or should have known

 

The party must show he did not know what he was doing.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 Unilateral Mistake

 

Mistake made by only one of the parties to the K.

 

Restatement §153: When a mistake of one party makes a contract viodable

 

Where the mistake of one party at the time the contract was made as to a basic assumption on which he made the contract has a material effect on the agreed exchange of performances that is adverse to him if he does not bear the risk of the mistake as stated in §154, and

 

The effect of a mistake is such that enforcement would be unconscionable; or

 

The other party had reason to know of the mistake or his fault caused the mistake.

 

Restatement §154:  A party bears the risk of a mistake when:

The risk is allocated to him by the agreement of the parties

 

He is aware at the time the contract is made he has only limited knowledge with respect to the fact in which the mistake relates but treats his limited knowledge as sufficient, or

 

The risk is allocated to him by the court on the ground that it is reasonable in the circumstances to do so.

 

First you must have a material mistake:

Next, there are three instances where the contract will be rescinded:

 

Material Mistake:  whether or not it would seriously effect the parties willingness to enter into the contract.  If you have a material mistakeà move to the three possible situations where the party who made the mistake off the hook:

Unconscionable; or

Other party knew there was a mistake; or

Other party caused the mistake.

 

In the event of reliance a contract is enforced

Ex:  The general contractor relied on a sub’s bid, although that bid contains a mistake.  Where the mistake has been substantially relied upon the contract will be enforced.

 

Negligence in mistake v. gross negligence and recklessness in mistake:

Where the party wishing to rescind has made the mistake, and the mistake was only made in negligence, there can still be rescincention.  However, where the party was reckless or grossly negligent the contract will be enforced.

 

Hypo:  overall if the mistake was unconscionable, or if the general contractor caused the mistake, or the general should have known it was a mistake when he received the sub’s bid, AND the mistake was material there is no contract.

 

Morta:  Man in car accident claims mistake as to the terms of a settlement and release where he was injured, however after he signed the release he discovers he is more severely injured then he thought.  He wants to rescind the release.  He claims he is mistaken about the contents of the settlement (in that he does not know it has a release).  His mistake occurred because he did not read it.  Contract enforceable because under §154 he bears the risk because he entered into the contract knowing he had taken no measure to read and sign the contract.

Tow reasons this is hard to prove:

1)      this is a unilateral mistake and harder to prove because unlike the mutual mistake, unilateral has four elements of Material, other party knew; other party caused; unconscionable

2)      And §154 says that if you approach the contract with KNOWN ignorance, you bear then risk of your mistake.

 

 

Mutual Mistake

Key Phrase:  “Mutual Mistake about a material fact that is basic and material”

 

 

Restatement §152 (much easier to get out of then §153):

Where a mistake of both parties at the time a contract was made as to a basic assumption on which the contract was made has a material effect on the agreed exchange of performances, a contract is avoidable by the adversely affected party unless he hears the risk of the mistake as stated in §154, and

 

The effect of the mistake is such that enforcement of the contract would be unconscionable, or

 

The other party had reason to know of the mistake of his fault caused the mistake

 

Restatement §154:  A party bears the risk of a mistake when:

The risk is allocated to him by the agreement of the parties

 

He is aware at the time the contract is made he has only limited knowledge with respect to the fact in which the mistake relates but treats his limited knowledge as sufficient, or

 

The risk is allocated to him by the court on the ground that it is reasonable in the circumstances to do so.

 

 

Requires a basic assumption-  Something the parties assumed to be true about the property.  Thus, in the case of Lenawee, the parties assumed the property was OK for human habitation.

 

 

 

 

§154 In a mutual mistake the seller bears the risk and cannot rescind the contract:  If you have a contract for land in Texas you would not expect the land to have diamonds or pluntoium.  If you were to find that on your property and the seller thus wanted to rescind the contract, he cant do so because he has assumed the risk because his ignorance is known to him. 

 

Ex:  Little girl finds a diamond and brings it into town and shows to a rock dealer.  He gives her a dollar.  She wants the rock after she learns it is a diamond.  Contract is valid because in a mutual mistake the seller assumes the risk. (limited knowledge)

 

 

Beachcomber v. Bostik:  Rare dime sold for $.  Both parties though the dime to be real, however, it was not authentic.  The buyer could avoid the contract because although he failed to check the validity of the coin, his failure to do so was no gross negligence, it was only negligence.  Thus after determining a mistake is material, we look to see if the mistake was a basic assumption.

 

Lenawee v. County:  Buyer and seller made a mutual mistake about the sewage problem. On the land.  Basic assumption that land was OK for human habitation.

 

Hypo:  for §154:  Sell a minor a car, but he looked to be at least 20, you don’t ask.  You use mistake as your defense, and say you are unilaterally mistaken as to this material element of age.  Under §154 you cannot escape the contract because although you thought he was 20, you knew that you really did not know how old he was because you didn’t ask.  You assumed the risk.

 

 

 

Fraud

Elements:

Misrepresentation, or

Material fact

Reliance and change of position upon the misrepresentation

Reasonable interpretation of the misrepresentation

Actor knows he is misrepresenting or does not care whether it is true of false.

 

Distinguish from tort- to get out of a contract, the misrepresentation can be entirely blameless and innocent.  All needed is that the misrepresentation was of a material fact. 

 

 

 

Tort

Contract

Material and a misrepresentation that was intentional

Material misrepresentation with reliance that was not necessarily intentional

 

Can occur when someone knowingly makes a fraudulent statement, or makes a statement knowing he does not know if it is true.

 

Morta:  The alleged misrepresentation was that the insurance company could only give him $900 as a limit.  However, the policy limit was $1600. The court ruled this was not a reasonable interpretation of the alleged misrepresentation because the industry often engaged in high low bidding and wagering with settlements. 

 

Constructive Fraud:

A confidential and trust relationship

Victim must have been the inferior party

There was a misrepresentation (even an innocent one)

The superior party must show the victim has not relied upon the misstatement

Thus when there is a relationship where the ∆ owes to the Π a duty to disclose something and he does not, there is constructive fraud.

 

Laidlaw v. Organ:  War just ended, and the New Orleans blockade had been lifted.  This fact was known to the Π and not to the ∆.  The ∆ buyer asks the Π is he knows anything about the peace process.  The Π is silent and says nothing.  The ∆ enters into the transaction, however, the price should have been much higher because of developments.  The ∆ claims the Π should have told him, and that the Π knowingly deceived him. 

Holding:  Contract still valid because the ∆ entered into the contract with out bothering to determine the answer to his inquiry.

 

On the other hand,

 

Vokes v. Author:  House has termites, but that fact was not relayed to home buyers.  There was no actual false statement, just a silence or avoidance when asked if there were any termites.  This case is distinguished from the above case in terms of the reasonable person.  Above the reasonable person would have waited for an answer, here, the reasonable would gather from a statement, “Termites?  Get outta here!”  Also, when asked, the home owners had said that a ripple on the floor was caused by water damage, however, they knowingly gave information they KNEW they did not know what it was.  This is a misrepresentation.

 

Types of misrepresentation:

Half truth:  If buyer says, “are there any termites in the house?” and owner says, “I would be the first to know.”

Rule:  the half truth can be used to disguise the real truth and be a misrepresentation

 

Concealment:  can be a misstatement in itself.  In Vokes, a plant covered the ripples in the floor plaster concealed wall damage.  Concealment is a misrepresentation in itself.

 

Non- response:  Is actionable if the non- response reasonably communicated something to the person asking

 

Misrepresentation must always relate to a factual matter, and a material fact.  Thus a promise to do something in the future is not a factual matter.  “I will give you my car on Thursday”

 

This does not apply to a fiduciary relationship however, where there has been an undue influence.

 

 

Promissory Fraud:  “I will give you my car Thursday.”  When you make such a promise you are also saying you have the present intent to do that thing on Thursday.  Thus if you don’t have that intent in the beginning, then you have knowingly made a promise you have no intention of keeping.  You are lying at the time of the promise about your current mental state.  This is promissory fraud

 

 

Undue influence Three types:

Where there is a confidential relationship and someone took unfair advantage of the weaker party.

 

Where you exploit the mental weakness of another and take unfair advantage

Here you don’t have to be crazy, just shakey, and if someone takes unfair advantage of this the contract can be avoided and rescinded

 

Distress of the victim is exploited in a way to take unfair advantage

Case where employee in a jail for allegedly molesting a student in school and his boss at that time asks his to enter into an employment agreement with them.  He successfully claimed unfair advantage in moment of distress.

 

Vokes v. Murray:  The Π takes many dance lessons from the dance studio paying extreme amount of money, eventually claiming inducement, suggestion of false hood, suppression of truth, and she was influenced unwittingly by constant and continuous flattery. 

Is there a fiduciary relationship?  NO dance instructor and student is not fiduciary

Was Π under duress?  NO

Did ∆ take unfair advantage of mental weakness- possibly

Undue influence:

Must distinguish between undue influence and economic duress

undue influence = unfair persuasion

The ∆ has a toughwer standard for unfair persuasion

∆ must be under the domination of the Π

Undue influenceà the ∆ is so weak he would not be able to refuse the deal.

If there is a relationship of confidence, you must disclose something material

 

Duty to disclose:  Informatiion that if the consumer had, he would not have entered into the contract

Termites is considered a material thing mandating disclosure

There is no duty to disclose if there is an HIV infection.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Duress

Unwarranted action taints an action in such a way that a contract will be unenforceable

 

Hypo:  you want to sell your car for $20,000.  You also have a gun pointed at your head.  This is a deal made under duresss.  We avoid contracts from which a wrongful threat produced.

 

Elements:

Threat

 

Wrongful

 

The wrongful threat produces the contract

The threat must in itself create and be the reason the contract was formed.  Ex:  You offer a car for $17 and if she buys it you would not kill her.  She would have bought the BMW even if there was no threat.

 

The wrongful threat capitulates reasonably

When you have no one to blame but yourself.  If you don’t buy a car for 23,000 you will kick a cat.

 

Economic Duress

Austin v, Lowell:  Lowerll was going to supply parts to the Navy and subcontracted with Austin.  Austin wanted whole renewed contract and said they would cancel their present shipment due unless Lowerell gave it to them.  Lowerell tried to find another company who could deliver same parts in time to neet Navy deadline but were unable to do so.  Lowerell gave Austin second contract. 

 

Distinguishing this case from Alaska Packers:  In that case, performance had not yet occurred and money had not changed hands.  Thus because there was already a pre- existing legal duty there was no consideration and the boss did not have to pay the fishermen.  Here however, there has been performance and we thus have a duress issue.  (If the boss had paid the fishermen it as well would be a duress issue).  Lowell performed here however because they had a contract to fulfill with the navy.  Austin says that Lowell should have claimed breach of contract and not performed.    Elements:

 

Element 1:  Was threat wrongfulà Rule:  if you are threatening a breach to leverage a deal, this is wrongful.

 

Element 4:  Was his capitulating reasonable (performance)à yes because Lowell feared they may lose a contract with the Navy if they did not perform.

 

Machinery v. Steel:  There was a threat but it was not wrongful.  The threat was not to renew the contract fro next year,  This is not wrongful, even if it would have resulted in the companies loss in millions.  It is the companies right not to renew.

 

Wrongful threat: Restatement § 176:

A threat is wrongful if:

What is threatened is a crime or a tort and the threat itself would be a crime or a tort if it resulting in obtaining property

What is threatened is criminal prosecution

What is threatened is the use of civil process and the threat is made in bad faith

the threat is a breach of the duty of good faith and fair dealing under a contract with the recipient.

A threat is improper if the resulting exchange is not on fair terms, and

the threatened act would harm the recipient and would not significantly benefit the party making the threat

The effectiveness of the threat inducing manifestation of assent is significantly increased by prior unfair dealing by the party making the threat, or

what is threatened is otherwise a use of power for illegitimate means.

 

What this means:  If it is not a fair deal, then the concern over the wrongfulness of the threat becomes easily wrongful if the deal itself is not fair.

 

The take it or leave it threat is not generally wrongful

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Unconscionability

Court will not enforce a deal due to public policy

 

UCC 2-302

If the court as a matter of law finds a contract to be unconscionable at the time it was made, the court may refuse to enforce the contract, or it may enforce the remainder of the contract without the unconscionable term, or it may so limit the application of any unconscionable term as to avoid any unconscionable result.

 

When it is claimed or appears to the court that the contract or and term thereof may be unconscionable, the parties shall be afforded a reasonable opportunity to present evidence as to its commercial setting, purpose and effect to aid the court in making the determination.

 

Determined at time K was made; must allow evidence of the commercial setting (walker show his store was in the ghetto and this was then only way he would even profit); and courts have flexibility in declaring enforceability (whole K; partial K; entirely unenforceable)

 

Up until now we assume a contract is created between two equally informed individuals however contracts are too long, dense, complicated, favorable to drafter, composed in legal terms.

 

 

Restatement § 208 Unconscionable contract or term (does the same as UCC but does not apply to goods)

 

If unconscionable at time made

Court may refuse to enforce K

Or may enforce partial remainder without term;

Or may limit the application of an unconscionable term to avoid any unconscionable result

 

Form contracts rules:

 

Insisted about up front requirements that must spell out and make sure the party understands the terms- voluntary acceptance of the terms

 

Cutler v. Latshaw:  Attornye and confession of judgment agreement.  She agreed to forego certain defenses she may have had to liability.  She already admits to liability in the event that certain things occur.  Ex:  if she is late on a payment that is the end of the dispute and she is liable.  The court allows these provisions, BUT the provision must be

VOLUNTARY

 

Unconscionability and two prongs:

Procedurally unconscionable- lack of notice, lack of awareness (party did not speak language) or something about the way the contract took place

You must ask, was the party in a position to oppose the term?

Substantially unconscionable- whether or not the deal was surprisingly lopsided, was it an UNFAIR SURPRISE?  (high price is usually not substantive)

 

Price rule:

if price is not at least 2 ½ times the price normally charged, it is not potentially unconscionable.

 

Weaver v. American Oil:  The lesee signed a contract saying he was responsible for any negligence occurring on the property even the lessors negligence and even negligence which injures the lesee.  He is severely burned when the lessor is negligent re- filling the gas tanks.  Is the clause enforceable?  NO, although Weaver did not read the contract which included the clause of the lease, he can argue he was ambushed. 

 

 

 

Restatement §211: form agreements section (3)

Where the other party has reason to believe that the party manifesting such assent woldnot do so if he knew that the writing contained a particular term, the term is not part of the agreement.

 

This provision gives the weaker party what he thinks he has bargained for.  Thus the party trying to slip in a hidden clause will have the term vided and still be held to the contract the weaker party thinks he is signing.

 

 

Warranties

Warranty of title:  UCC 2-312

There is a promise you will sell a good it is implied that

The title shall be good, and its transfer rightful, AND

Disclaim title expressly if by saying you might not have the title

(for ex:  you think you own pap’s tractor, but b/c he dies you are not exactly sure who owns it now)

 

UCC 2-313- Express Warranty

 

UCC RULE: 

Any affirmation of fact or promise relating to the goods creates an express warranty that the goods shall conform to the affirmation or promise

Any description of the goods

Any sample or model made part of the basis for the bargain creates an express warranty the goods shall conform to the sample or model

Not necessary to use warrant or guarantee

Not necessary for seller to have intent to make warranty

Sellers opinion is not a warranty

 

Hypo:  What do we mean by a car?  I will sell a car for 17,000 but seller only hands him the keys, Technically this is part of the car right?    Under he express warranty, car means more than keys.

 

The precise meaning of a car is not clear, however there is a limit. 

A 1969 mustang with a Buick engineà yes, a breach of warranty

A 1969 mustang when you bought a 1967 mustangà yes a breach of warranty

A mustang with a buick antennaà no this is not a breach because reasonable consumers know that after a certain number of years and miles on the car it would be reasonable to expect replacements.

 

The affirmation of fact need not be verbal

 

Ex:  the odometer in the car says 40,000, that is a manifestation that the car has that number of miles on it.

But if you were looking at the car in the showroon and underneath the left front fender someone had written in marker MPG = 53 city.  But you don’t get 52 MPG in the city and claim breach of warranty.  NO, this was not a reasonable manifestation

 

Opinions are not express warranties

Puffing not fact (hard to test)

RULE:  if you can test the truth of falsity of a statement, it is usually fact

If the words are a fact statement in one view and an opinion in anothers view, the more reasonable view will determine if it is fact or opinion

 

Hypo:  go to the store and buy a jet ski and on the wall the seller has a certificate certifying the seller has passed jet ski training.  The buyer gets a jet ski and says there is a breach in express warranty.  Just because there is a false statement on the wall it does not relate to the goods.  This is where misrepresentation and warranty diverge.

 

Hypo:  buy a dune buggy and seller tells you how fun on the beach but you find they are illegal on the beach, No breach because this is not a statement about the quality of goods

 

A sample is considered a statement of fact, and if your good is not like the sample you have a breach of express warranty

 

Hypo:  What if you have already bought the goods and the seller promises they goods have a color guard treatment.  This was not inducing you to enter into the contract, because you have already done that, but it is still considered part of the deal

 

Promise can be made after purchase made, does not have to induce the buyer

 

 

 

Implied warranty of merchantability UCC 2-314

 

UCC RULE:

·        Seller must be a merchant

·        Fit for ordinary purposes for which goods are used

·        Adequately contained, labeled and packaged as the agreement may require

·        Conform to the promise of affirmations of fact on the packaging

·        Other implied warranties may arise from course of dealings or usage of trade

 

Seller must be a merchant (buyer does not have to be)

 

We don’t worry about how it was made, we worry about what the warranty contains

 

Hypo:  when you buy a pencil, it is supposed to write, erase, be sturdy, grasp.  There are qualities we associate with a pencil, and if it does not do those things we find it to be an unmerchantable pencil. 

 

Must be fit for their ordinary purpose

 

Hypo:  go to church yard sale and ask housewife if the lamp still works.  She says yes its fine and its merchantible  You take it home and it burns down your house.  You sue for breach of implied warranty.  NO because she is not a merchant.  BUT she will be in breach of express warranty because she expressly said the lamp was merchantable.  Thus, because express warranty does not have a merchant requirement, there is a breach.

 

Hypo:  Seller at a cotton gin decides to clean out his office and sells a desk.  He is not a merchant of the desk, thus it would be wise to get an express warranty about the quality of the goods.

 

Hypo:  You opn up a can of peas and its carrotsà unmerchantible because its not peas

 

Hypo:  painting your bedroom sea foam green, but you still have half of one wall.  You go back to seller and they give you another can, but it’s a shade off from the rest.  This is unmerchantible paint because we don’t require sea foam to be a particular, but we do require they be uniform

 

There are centain kinds of products that a merchant implicitly promises conformity

 

 

 

Covers used items as well, although the reasonable expectations are different than for the new item.  The expectations mostly are that the product will not cause personal injury.

 

Price is an excellent index of the goods quality and what we should expect of its performance

 

Personal injury:  There are usual expectations and if the product fails and causes personal injury, a court will be inclined to liberally construe the reasonable expectation

 

 

Hypo:  Sell a gun for $5 but it backfires.  Seller says he only sold it for $5 and it would be unreasonable to expect anything else.  Courts disagree

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Natural v. Foreign Substance- is the product merchantiable?

 

Substances found in clam chowders and chilies. 

Reasonable expectation Test:  what would the reasonable person expect to find in their clam chowder?

RULE:  if the minority of people that will be adversely affected by the product, the product is merchantiable if that minority is given fair warning of the danger to the minority

Ex:  MSG in Chinese food.

 

 

Implied Warranty of Fitness for a particular purpose (UCC 2-315)

 

Seller must know of the buyers purpose

Seller has reason to know that the buyer is relying on the sellers skills to select or supply

Buyer does in fact rely

Goods are unfit for purpose

Not limited to merchants

 

Hypo:  man buying bolts for a bridge, man tells seller this.  The seller might not know that the buyer is relying on his judgment of the bolts.

 

Hypo:  say you want to use a chemical to spice a carrot cake.  You tell the buyer what you are trying to do and the buyer says, “I have just the thing for you” But it does not perform the task as you described the task to the buyer.  The chemical, however, works as it would for what is normal purpose would be. 

1)      The seller must know what your particular purpose is

2)      The seller must know he is being relied upon

a.       ExL  the buyer describes to seller his idea of a homemade irrigation.  The seller thinks to himself tubing that thin will freeze in winter but sells anyway.  Tubing does freeze and buyer claims breach of Warranty of fitness.  No breach because the seller did not know the buyer was relying on him.

3)      Fitness of warranty is not restricted to merchants.

 

For a warranty to attach there must be a transaction

DISCLAIMERS

 

2-316 Disclaimer of Express Warranty

 

see handout