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Pride v. Lewis

    Brief Fact Summary.

    The Prides sued Lewis for breach of contract for lost rent in terminating a lease agreement when they relied on a contract for sale of real estate with Lewis.

    Synopsis of Rule of Law.

    Silence or inaction does not constitute an acceptance to an offer.

    Facts.

    Lewis offered to purchase the Pride’s home for $55,000 with additional financing from the Prides. The Prides rejected the offer and Lewis made a second offer with traditional bank financing. The second offer was in the form of a contract and the closing date was May 15, 2003. When Lewis made his deposit, the Prides changed the closing date by hand to June 1, 2003. Although the Prides initialed the change, Lewis did not initial the change. The Prides received no further communication from Lewis, did not request a refund of the deposit, and did not close on the house. The Prides later sold the house to another buyer for $40,000. The Prides sued Lewis for breach of contract and the trial court found in favor of the Prides.

    Issue.

    Whether silence or inaction constitutes an acceptance to an offer.

    Held.

    No. The judgment of the trial court is reversed. The Prides made a counteroffer to Lewis when they changed the closing date. Because Lewis did not receive any service from the Prides, his silence is not an acceptance to the counteroffer made by the Prides. No contract was formed because Lewis did not accept the counteroffer.

    Discussion.

    Even if an offer states that silence constitutes an acceptance, the law will not accept silence or inaction as acceptance.


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