Plaintiff, Defendant and Citation:
The Plaintiffs of the case are W.O. Lucy with a brother J. C. Lucy, complaining against A.H Zehmer and partner Ida S. Zehmeh, the defendants, with the case referenced as196 Va. 493, 84 S.E.2d 516.
Case being heard in Supreme Court of Virginia stated that defendants Zehmer sold land portion to W.O. Lucy, which was worth fifty thousand pounds. Zehmer and W.O. Lucy were out drinking while the defendant drafted an agreement stating the specifications of the land, satisfactory buyer and the amount it was sold at. Later in the case, Zehmer had conflicting arguments stating that, when W.O Lucy offered the cash for the land, defendant Zehmer considered it as an offer performed in jest and that he did not intend to sell the land, but Plaintiff W.O . Lucy insisted that he had purchased that tract of land. Therefore, statements were appealed in court holding.
Plaintiffs had filled an action-forcing defendant to submit a written promise on the stated farm purchase. Consequently, trial court discharged case, arguing that there was no display of specific performance right on the defendant’s arguments, thus the appellate court remanded and reversed the case.
Case Type Description:
Stated case was based on contract dispute aspects. This is because it was a formal agreement between Plaintiff and Defendant to purchase and sell the land, and was put in writing stating description of farm, amount of sell and title of buyer.
After Defendant Zehmer and Lucy the plaintiff had a meeting and some drinks, Zehmer wrote an agreement to sell his farm for fifty thousand pounds to Lucy. He later stated that he wasn’t sober at the time of agreement and was only bluffing, but Lucy insisted that Zehmeh was in his senses. When Zehmer refused to complete transaction of issuing the land that he had allegedly sold, Lucy appealed for specific performance but trial court ruled for the Plaintiff, stating that the Defendant failed to establish specific performance right. Plaintiff wanted possession issue of farm that he had paid for.
How does court conclude whether Defendant had intentions to make a contract, when evaluating Defendant’s aspect of valid offer? On this aspect, court interprets actions and words of the Defendant, in accordance to the standards of a reasonable person.
Decision and Analysis:
In evaluating whether there was a valid offer in the case, trial court determines acts of one party, the meaning of words used and examines undisclosed intent, whether it attaches unreasonable meaning that is manifested to a second party. In the stated case, actions of Zehmer of accepting the money for sale of land and eventually writing down an agreement was reasonably interpreted as a willing intention of selling his farm. This is because, Plaintiff and Defendant discussed over sale and purchase of the farm for more than forty minutes, issued title of farm and wrote contract without spelling mistakes, later Defendants signed that agreement. Therefore, trial court stated that, complaints presented by Defendants ought to contain specific performance on which agreement was sued on. Thus, the cause was remanded and decree reversed stating that, there is need for defendants to act in accordance of Contract Laws for appropriate declaration.
Supreme Court held that it was an enforceable contract, based on actions displayed in the agreement. This is examined on basis of good faith proposition and acceptance between Plaintiff and Defendant, thus Supreme Court overturned Defendants’ arguments.