Friday, November 16, 2012

Botticello v. Stefanovicz case brief

Botticello v. Stefanovicz

                                                              i.      Facts – Botticello agreed with Walter Stefanovicz to lease property that he owned as tenants in common with his wife, and the lease contained an option to purchase.  Botticello thinks he has bought a rent-to-own lease, but this is only the case if Stefanovicz had authority to act as an agent for his wife and convey her interest in the property.  Court held that the wife did not ratify the agreement and that Walter alone was liable.

                                                            ii.      Elements of Agency Relationship – Rest. (2d) of Agency § 1.
1.      A manifestation by the principal that the agent will act for him.
2.      Acceptance by the agent of the undertaking.
3.      An understanding between the parties that the principal will be in control of the undertaking.

                                                          iii.      Burden of Proof – Plaintiff; preponderance of the evidence.
1.      Neither marital status nor common ownership of land is sufficient in and of itself.

                                                          iv.      Ratification – Affirmance by a person of a prior act which did not bind him but which was done or professedly done on his account.  Requires acceptance of the results of the act with (1) an intent to ratify and (2) full knowledge of all the material circumstances.
1.      Somewhat of an equitable doctrine.
2.      “Before the receipt of benefits may constitute ratification, the other requisites for ratification must first be present.  Thus if the original transaction was not purported to be done on account of the principal, the fact that the principal receives its proceeds does not make him a party to it.”
3.      Existence of an agency relationship is a prerequisite to ratification.  (Prior act must be “done or professedly done on his account.”)
4.      Requires more than passive acquiescence.
5.      Wife did not convey her knowing acceptance of all of the terms of the agreement.
6.      By the time of ratification, we must know (1) that the wife has full knowledge of the terms of the agreement and (2) that her behavior is uniquely responsive to her acceptance of the agreement, i.e., her behavior cannot be explained in another way.

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