Lefkowitz V. Great Minneapolis Surplus Store, Inc - Judgment

Judgment

Justice Murphy held that the advertisement constituted an offer, which could not be withdrawn. He described the facts and gave his decision as follows.

The trial court properly disallowed plaintiff’s claim for the value of the fur coats since the value of these articles was speculative and uncertain. The only evidence of value was the advertisement itself to the effect that the coats were “Worth to $100.00,” how much less being speculative especially in view of the price for which they were offered for sale. With reference to the offer of the defendant on April 13, 1956, to sell the “1 Black Lapin Stole … worth $139.50” the trial court held that the value of this article was established and granted judgment in favor of the plaintiff for that amount less the $1 quoted purch

The defendant contends that a newspaper advertisement offering items of merchandise for sale at a named price is a “unilateral offer” which may be withdrawn without notice. He relies upon authorities which hold that, where an advertiser publishes in a newspaper that he has a certain quantity or quality of goods which he wants to dispose of at certain prices and on certain terms, such advertisements are not offers which become contracts as soon as any person to whose notice they may come signifies his acceptance by notifying the other that he will take a certain quantity of them. Such advertisements have been construed as an invitation for an offer of sale on the terms stated, which offer, when received, may be accepted or rejected and which therefore does not become a contract of sale until accepted by the seller; and until a contract has been so made, the seller may modify or revoke such prices or terms. Montgomery Ward & Co. v. Johnson, 95 N.E. 290 (Mass. 1911); Nickel v. Theresa Farmers Co-op. Ass’n, 20 N.W.2d 117 (Wis. 1945); Lovett v. Frederick Loeser & Co., 207 N.Y.S. 753 (N.Y. Mun. Ct. 1924); Schenectady Stove Co. v. Holbrook, 4 N.E. 4 (N.Y. 1885); Georgian Co. v. Bloom, 108 S.E. 813 (Ga. Ct. App. 1921); Craft v. Elder & Johnson Co., 38 N.E.2d 416 (Ohio Ct. App. 1941).

The defendant relies principally on Craft v. Elder & Johnston Co., supra. In that case, the court discussed the legal effect of an advertisement offering for sale, as a one-day special, an electric sewing machine at a named price. The view was expressed that the advertisement was “not an offer made to any specific person but was made to the public generally. Thereby it would be properly designated as a unilateral offer and not being supported by any consideration could be withdrawn at will and without notice.” It is true that such an offer may be withdrawn before acceptance. Since all offers are by their nature unilateral because they are necessarily made by one party or on one side in the negotiation of a contract, the distinction made in that decision between a unilateral offer and a unilateral contract is not clear. On the facts before us we are concerned with whether the advertisement constituted an offer, and, if so, whether the plaintiff’s conduct constituted an acceptance.

There are numerous authorities which hold that a particular advertisement in a newspaper or circular letter relating to a sale of articles may be construed by the court as constituting an offer, acceptance of which would complete a contract. J.E. Pinkham Lumber Co. v. C.W. Griffin & Co., 102 So. 689 (Ala. 1925); Seymour v. Armstrong & Kassebaum, 64 P. 612 (Kan. 1901); Payne v. Lautz Bros. & Co., 166 N.Y.S. 844 (N.Y. City Ct. 1916), aff’d, 168 N.Y.S. 369 (N.Y. Sup. Ct.), aff’d, 171 N.Y.S. 1094 (N.Y. App. Div. 1918); Arnold v. Phillips, 1 Ohio Dec. Reprint 195 (Ohio Ct. Common Pl. 1846); Oliver v. Henley, 21 S.W.2d 576 (Tex. Civ. App. 1929). The test of whether a binding obligation may originate in advertisements addressed to the general public is “whether the facts show that some performance was promised in positive terms in return for something requested.” 1 WILLISTON, CONTRACTS § 27 (Rev. ed. 1936).

The authorities above cited emphasize that, where the offer is clear, definite, and explicit, and leaves nothing open for negotiation, it constitutes an offer, acceptance of which will complete the contract. The most recent case on the subject is Johnson v. Capital City Ford Co., 85 So. 2d 75 (La. Ct. App. 1955), in which the court pointed out that a newspaper advertisement relating to the purchase and sale of automobiles may constitute an offer, acceptance of which will consummate a contract and create an obligation in the offeror to perform according to the terms of the published offer.

Whether in any individual instance a newspaper advertisement is an offer rather than an invitation to make an offer depends on the legal intention of the parties and the surrounding circumstances. We are of the view on the facts before us that the offer by the defendant of the sale of the Lapin fur was clear, definite, and explicit, and left nothing open for negotiation. The plaintiff having successfully managed to be the first one to appear at the seller’s place of business to be served, as requested by the advertisement, and having offered the stated purchase price of the article, he was entitled to performance on the part of the defendant. We think the trial court was correct in holding that there was in the conduct of the parties a sufficient mutuality of obligation to constitute a contract of sale.

The defendant contends that the offer was modified by a “house rule” to the effect that only women were qualified to receive the bargains advertised. The advertisement contained no such restriction. This objection may be disposed of briefly by stating that, while an advertiser has the right at any time before acceptance to modify his offer, he does not have the right, after acceptance, to impose new or arbitrary conditions not contained in the published offer. Payne v. Lautz Bros. & Co., 166 N.Y.S. 844, 848 (N.Y. City Ct. 1916); Mooney v. Daily News Co., 133 N.W. 573 (Minn. 1911).

Read more about this topic:  Lefkowitz V. Great Minneapolis Surplus Store, Inc

Other articles related to "judgment, judgement, judgments":

Judgment

Judgement (or judgment) is the evaluation of evidence in the making of a decision. The term has four distinct uses:

  • Informal - Opinions expressed as facts.
  • Informal and psychological – used in reference to the quality of cognitive faculties and adjudicational capabilities of particular individuals, typically called wisdom or discernment.
  • Legal – used in the context of legal trial, to refer to a final finding, statement, or ruling, based on a considered weighing of evidence, called "adjudication". See spelling note for further explanation.
  • Religious – used in the concept of salvation to refer to the adjudication of God in determining Heaven or Hell for each and all human beings.
Apocalypse Of Zephaniah - Theology
... It clearly distinguishes between the personal judgment occurring immediately after death and the final judgment by the Lord ... Judgment is based only on the balance between good deeds and sins during the whole of life, indicating that the book was influenced by Pharisaism ... Souls enter bliss or punishment immediately after the first judgment, while waiting for the Lord's coming, but the intercession of the saints makes it possible that, for some ...
Gibson V Manchester City Council - Judgment - House of Lords
... Lord Diplock said the following “ Lord Justice Geoffrey Lane in a dissenting judgment, which for my part I find convincing, adopted the ...
Judgment Day (2006)
... Judgment Day (2006) was the eighth annual Judgment Day professional wrestling pay-per-view event produced by World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) ...
Judgment (mathematical Logic)
... In mathematical logic, a judgment can be for example an assertion about occurrence of a free variable in an expression of the object language, or about ... Judgments are used for example in formalizing deduction systems a logical axiom expresses a judgment, premises of a rule of inference are formed as a sequence of judgments, and their ... Also the result of a proof expresses a judgment, and the used hypotheses are formed as a sequence of judgments ...

Famous quotes containing the word judgment:

    We watched her jug a hare, once, on television, years ago.... The hare had been half rotted, then cremated, then consumed. If there is a god and she is of the rabbit family, then Saskia will be in deep doo- doo on Judgment Day.
    Angela Carter (1940–1992)

    Some counterfeits reproduce so very well the truth that it would be a flaw of judgment not to be deceived by them.
    François, Duc De La Rochefoucauld (1613–1680)

    Casting an eye on the education of children, from whence I can make a judgment of my own, I observe they are instructed in religious matters before they can reason about them, and consequently that all such instruction is nothing else but filling the tender mind of a child with prejudices.
    George Berkeley (1685–1753)