Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Petterson v. Pattberg case brief

Petterson v. Pattberg case brief summary
161 N.E. 428 (N.Y. 1928)

Defendant bond owner appealed a decision requiring performance of an agreement in favor of plaintiff executrix, from the Appellate Division of the Supreme Court in the second judicial department (New York), asserting that the contract was not binding as a matter of law.

Plaintiff executrix sought performance of an agreement concerning a debt with defendant bond owner, which provided for a reduced principal if it was paid off early. The decedent originally, paid defendant installments of the principal. After several installment periods passed, decedent attempted to relinquish the debt in full with a lump sum payment to defendant. Litigation ensued when defendant refused to accept the sum. The trial court awarded a judgment in favor of plaintiff, requiring fulfillment of the agreement.


  • Upon final determination, the court reversed the appellate court's affirmance of this judgment. 
  • Specifically, the court held that due to the fact that the provisions of the contract were unilateral, defendant was rightfully able to withdraw the offer before decedent's act was completed. 
  • As a result, plaintiff was required to pay the loan without interest forbearance.

The court reversed the appellate court on the grounds that that since defendant and the decedent entered into a unilateral contract, defendant was legally entitled to revocation rights before performance was completed. The complaint was dismissed.

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