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Livingstone v. Evans

    Brief Fact Summary.

    Evans (Defendant) offered to sell his land to Livingston (Plaintiff), who counter-offered and then later accepted after the Defendant rejected the counter-offer.

    Synopsis of Rule of Law.

    The making of a counter offer is a rejection of the original offer.

    Facts.   The Defendant offered to sell his land for $1800, and the Plaintiff countered with $1600 cash.  The Defendant relied that he could not reduce the price.  The Plaintiff then sought to accept at Defendant’s original offer, but the Defendant had already sold the land to someone else.

    Facts.

    The Defendant offered to sell his land for $1800, and the Plaintiff countered with $1600 cash.  The Defendant relied that he could not reduce the price.  The Plaintiff then sought to accept at Defendant’s original offer, but the Defendant had already sold the land to someone else.

    Issue.

    Was the plaintiff’s counteroffer by law a rejection of the defendant’s offer which freed them from it?

    Held.

    ·         The Plaintiff’s telegram was clearly a counter-offer.  However, Defendant’s response “cannot reduce price” amounted to a renewal of the original offer, implying that the Plaintiff was still free to purchase the land at $1800.

    The Plaintiff then accepted the renewed offer, and there was a binding contract.  Therefore, the Plaintiff was entitled to specific performance.

    Discussion.

    ·         When an offer has been rejected it is thereby ended and cannot be afterwards accepted without the consent of him who made it.

    ·         In this case, the court saw Defendant’s response to the counter-offer as a renewal of his original offer, so Plaintiff was free to accept it.

     


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