Brief Fact Summary.
Attorney Mason (defendant) was interviewed on the NBC show Dateline about high-profile murder case. In the interview, Mason purported to refute the prosecution’s theory of the case and stated he'll pay a million dollars if someone can proof. Dustin Kolodziej (plaintiff), viewed Mason’s interview and proceeded to videotape himself completing Mason's challenge. Kolodziej sued Mason in after he refused pay. The district court granted Mason’s motion for summary judgment. Kolodziej appealed
Synopsis of Rule of Law.
An enforceable contract requires mutual consent by both parties to consent to play out an act or forbearance with a full comprehension of the terms of the agreement.
Over the span of serving to a man accused of quadruple murder, lawyer James Mason (defendant) was interviewed on the NBC news program Dateline about the high-profile case. Mason guaranteed that his client couldn't have carried out the wrongdoings because the client was a few hundred miles away in Atlanta, Georgia, at the time the killings happened in Central Florida. During the meeting, Mason implied to discredit the prosecution's hypothesis of the case, which required his client to have traveled by means of plane to carry out the wrongdoings, and after that fly back to an area in Atlanta within a short time. At a certain point, Mason expressed, “I challenge anybody to show me, and guess what? Did [the prosecution] bring in any evidence to say that somebody made that route …? State’s burden of proof. If they can do it, I’ll challenge ‘em. I’ll pay them a million dollars if they can do it.” The interview was broadcasted after Mason's client was indicted by a jury and condemned to death. However, NBC altered Mason's remarks to state, “I challenge anybody to show me—I’ll pay them a million dollars if they can do it.” Dustin Kolodziej (plaintiff), a law student, saw Mason's interview, acknowledged Mason's challenge, and continued to videotape himself effectively making the trip. Kolodziej recorded suit against Mason in federal district court in Texas after Mason declined to make payment. The district court allowed Mason's motion for summary judgment, holding that Mason's hyperbolic proclamation coordinated at the prosecution did not add up to a unilateral offer that could be accepted by Kolodziej. Kolodziej appealed.
Does an enforceable contract require mutual consent both parties to consent to play out an act or forbearance with a full comprehension of the terms of the agreement?
Yes. An enforceable contract requires mutual consent by both parties to consent to play out an act or forbearance with a full comprehension of the terms of the agreement.
When reviewing a grant of summary judgment, the court of appeals may affirm if there exists any adequate ground for doing so, regardless of whether it is the one on which the district court relied.View Full Point of Law
An enforceable contract requires mutual consent by both parties to consent to play out an act or forbearance with a full comprehension of the terms of the agreement. A valid contract requires an offer, an acceptance, consideration, and adequate determination of the fundamental terms. An oral contract is liable to similar prerequisites. Mutual consent is essential to the formation of any agreement and requires the two parties to consent to enter an agreement with a full understanding of what commitments are required to be performed. Whether mutual assent exists is determined by an objective reasonableness test considering the reasonable interpretation of a party’s words or actions given the surrounding circumstances. Here, Mason's announcements on Dateline would not have been comprehended by a reasonable individual to be an encouragement to contract in either the unedited version or the edited version. Rather, Mason's "million dollars" remark was exaggeration. Over the span of speaking to his client, Mason just utilized a logical articulation to bring up issues with regards to the prosecution’s case. Mason's conduct did not have any indicia of consent to contract. Also, an enforceable contract requires the two parties to mutually consent to conduct, leaving no fundamental terms open for question. Kolodziej and Mason never talked or examined the terms of the interest of how the trip from Atlanta to Florida should be conducted. Therefore, Kolodziej theorized and chose for himself what constituted the basic terms of the asserted contract. Mason did not go into a legitimate contract with Kolodziej. The judgment of the district court is affirmed.