Contracts I-By Benjamin Neidl

Contracts I-By Benjamin Neidl - CONTRACTS I Professor...

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CONTRACTS I Professor Weiskopf Course Outline, 1997 By Benjamin Neidl ___________________________________________ (I) OVERVIEW (A) A Contract is a legally enforceable promise or set of promises. (1) A unilateral contract is a promise made in return for a performance . For instance, A promises to pay B $10 if B walks across a bridge. B’s action is not a promise to walk across the bridge, it is the actual performance of the bargained for activity. (2) A bilateral contract is a promise made in return for a promise. For instance, A promises to pay B $10 if B promises to walk across the bridge. (B) Every agreement must have three elements in order to be a contract, and hence, in order to be enforceable: (1) A valid offer , in which the maker of the offer, or offeror , exhibits a reasonable intent to be bound by a promise to the receiver of an offer, or offeree . (2) A valid Acceptance , in which the offeree agrees to the terms of the offer. (3) Consideration , which is reciprocity of inducement between the parties. Basically, this means that both parties must be committing to something. A mere promise made by one person to another seeking nothing in return has no consideration, and there can be no contract. Such promises made without consideration are known as gratuitious or gift promises. (C) Promises can sometimes be enforceable even where there was no contract, if the receiver of the promise, or the promisee , reasonably relied on the promise to his detriment. This condition is known as promissory estoppel . For instance, A promises B that B can come and live with A, rent free. B sells his house and goes to move in with A, but A has changed his mind. There was no contract here, because B offered nothing in return such that there was no consideration , but the promise would probably still be enforceable under the doctrine of promissory estoppel because B reasonably relied on A’s promise, and incurred loss in his reliance. (D) Although most contracts need not be written, some types must be evidenced by -1-
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some writing. This is prescribed by the Statute of Frauds , which originated in England centuries ago, and has really evolved into many Statutes of Frauds which are part of the law in almost every jurisdiction. Most Statutes of Frauds are generally similar, and have similar requirements. (E) Many of the common-law rules governing contracts have been liberalized by the Uniform Commercial Code (UCC) , which is a complex statute drafted by numerous experts in contracts. It has been adopted in full or in part just about everywhere in the US. It’s rules generally pertain to contracts between merchants. (F) Some things to keep in mind. (1) Whereas the purpose of criminal law is to punish wrongdoers, and the purpose of tort law is to punish wrongdoers and compensate those entitled, the purpose of contract law is strictly to compensate. Punitive damages are never awarded in breach of contract cases. (2)
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This note was uploaded on 02/15/2008 for the course LAW 1090 taught by Professor Gegan during the Fall '03 term at St. Johns Duplicate.

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Contracts I-By Benjamin Neidl - CONTRACTS I Professor...

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