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- Contract law follows an objective theory—what a reasonable person would intend K to mean.
- The more open-ended, the more vague an agreement is, the less likely it is there was an intent to contract!
HAwkins v. McGee
- - Dr. said he guaranteed hand would be better; this constituted enforceable promise
Van Zee v. Witzke
- - Dr. told patient she “wouldn’t be worse off” and that there would be “no problem at all”
- - Court found for Dr. on grounds that they were mere therapeutic reassurances and not enforceable promises
Embry v. McKittrick
- - man asks boss about extension on contract near contract’s expiration and boss said “go out and get your men you’ll be okay”; man was let go soon after
- - man sued and won because a reasonable person would have interpreted boss’s remarks to mean the contract would go on for another year; date he asked was eimportant
- - even if boss didn’t intend it to mean that, a reasonable person would have interpreted it as such and that’s what matters most
Carlill V. Carbolic Smoke Ball Company
- - plaintiff sued because company wouldn’t make good on their promise which they advertised after Π got sick
- - Π won since court ruled the intent was there, that they even said they placed £1000 in the bank; even though it was vague it was clear enough to make good upon, Π fulfilled her end of the bargain and was entitled to damages
Robbins v. Lynch
- - truck company signed collective bargaining contract year after year and one year he didn’t but still went along with its terms, then wanted to cease it
- - since all his actions was as if he was being bound by the contract and since that’s what he did continuously in the past, it doesn’t matter what his private intent was; his public intent was that he was going by the contract. Π won.
- - Illustrates that conduct can create a contract (even though he never signed anything)
Empro v. Ball Co
- - Empro sent Ball-Co a letter of intent to purchase, and Ball-Co ended up pulling out of the deal; Empro sued
- - Court held that the letter of intent here illustrated that they didn’t want to be bound, there were conditions to be worked out later, they still needed approval from board and shareholders, that many things were still “subject to” further talk
- - HOWEVER, just because it was subject to more details doesn’t mean BY ITSELF it was no good; but in this case it was because there were general and important things to be worked out still. There could be a case where the letter of intent is all but final and the final is just a formalization or memorial. Must look at context of letter of intent.
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