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Gibson v. Cranage

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    Bloomberg Law

    Brief Fact Summary. The Plaintiff sued to recover the contract price for a picture that he agreed to have made for the Defendant. The contract stated that the Defendant had the right to reject the picture if it was unsatisfactory and he did reject it.

    Synopsis of Rule of Law. Where parties enter into an agreement that does not violate public policy and is not fraudulent, the parties must be bound by the agreement.

    Facts. The Plaintiff contracted with the Defendant to have a large picture of the Defendant’s deceased daughter made from a smaller picture. According to the terms of the agreement, if the picture was not satisfactory to the Defendant, he was not required to take it or pay for it. Subsequently, the Defendant rejected the picture once and refused to even look at it a second time. The Plaintiff thereafter sued to recover the contract price.

    Issue. Should the contract at issue be strictly enforced according to its terms?

    Held. Yes. Where parties enter into an agreement that does not violate public policy and is not fraudulent, the parties must be bound by the agreement. While it seems somewhat harsh in the present case, the parties must be obligated by the terms of the agreement. Here, the Defendant had the right to reject or accept the finished picture. If, for whatever reason, the picture was unsatisfactory, the Defendant had the right to reject it and not pay for it, which he did. Therefore, the Plaintiff has no recourse against the Defendant under this contract.

    Discussion. The parties to an agreement are strictly bound by its terms.


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