Friday, March 23, 2012

Steiner v. Mobil Oil Corp. case brief

 Steiner v. Mobil Oil Corp. (1977); CB 713
    Conditional acceptance
  • Steiner (P) owned gas station; Mobil (D) agreed to help him buy it and sell him gas.
  • Terms: D sends forms to P. Then P fills them out and is very clear that his offer is conditional upon the irrevocability of the discount agreement. (this is the offer). D middle management leaves out irrevocability term; thinks discount is revocable.
  • Breach: D tried to stop giving P the price discount a few months into the deal.
  • Holding: Court applies UCC §2-207 because offer and acceptance have different terms. The court holds that even though Mobil doesn’t catch the change made by Steiner, the discount provision put in by Steiner and not Mobil’s standard revocable discount provision became part of the agreement. Mobil cannot assert as a defense the failure of its own bureaucracy to respond to, or even fully recognize, Steiner’s efforts to modify the standard Mobil dealer contract.
  • What was the offer? Steiner sends Mobil the forms.
  • What was the acceptance? Mobil sends Steiner back the forms. Both parties treated this as an acceptance.
  • What are the terms? The revocability clause was the major term.

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