Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Davis v. Jacoby case brief

Davis v. Jacoby case brief summary
34 P.2d 1026 (Cal. 1934)

CASE SYNOPSIS
Plaintiff appealed from a judgment of the Superior Court of Alameda County (California) refusing to grant specific performance of an alleged contract to make a will.

CASE FACTS
Plaintiffs alleged that they and decedent entered into a contract whereby plaintiffs agreed to assist decedent in his affairs and take care of his ailing wife in exchange for an inheritance under decedent's will. Decedent made the offer by letter and plaintiffs sent a letter back stating they agreed to assist him. Decedent died shortly after, and the evidence showed that plaintiffs did arrive at decedent's home and took care of his wife and other affairs. After decedent's wife died it was discovered that plaintiffs were not mentioned in decedent's will.

DISCUSSION

  • The court reversed, holding that because the offer to contract was ambiguous as to whether it was an offer to enter into a bilateral or unilateral contract, a presumption existed that the offer was for a bilateral contract. 
  • Thus, plaintiffs' letter, in which they promised to assist decedent, was an acceptance of the offer and a contract was formed.
CONCLUSION
Court reversed, holding that because offer to contract was ambiguous as to whether it was an offer to enter into a bilateral or unilateral contract, a presumption existed that the offer was for a bilateral contract. Thus, plaintiffs' letter was an acceptance of the offer and a contract was formed.


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