Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Costco Wholesale Corp. v. World Wide Licensing Corp. case brief

Costco Wholesale Corp. v. World Wide Licensing Corp. case brief summary
898 P.2d 347 (1995)

Appellant seller sought review of a summary judgment of the King County Superior Court (Washington), which was entered in favor of appellee buyer in the buyer's action for breach of a rebate agreement. The seller denied the rebate agreement and alleged the statute of frauds, Wash. Rev. Code § 62A.2-201(1), as an affirmative defense.

The buyer and seller entered into a written contract for the sale of jewelry. The buyer contended that the price for the jewelry was modified when the seller's agent agreed in writing to rebate part of purchase price. The seller alleged that the buyer orally modified the contract by promising to buy more jewelry. Each party contended that the modification alleged by the other was barred by the statute of frauds. The trial court entered summary judgment in favor of the buyer.


  • The court reversed and remanded for trial. 
  • The court held that the contract's initial satisfaction of the statute of frauds passed through to the modification, but that the contract as modified could only be enforced up to the quantity stated. 
  • Thus, the statute of frauds barred the oral promise to purchase additional jewelry, but not the rebate claim to the extent of original quantity. 
  • However, the court found that an issue of material fact existed about the extent of the agent's apparent authority to agree to the rebate, and remanded for trial.

The court reversed the summary judgment in favor of the buyer and remanded for trial.

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