Davis v. Jacoby - Rule In a Unilateral contract there must...

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Davis v. Jacoby 1 Cal.2d 370 (1934) Fact: Operative Facts: Mr. and Mrs. David was a close family relative of their uncle and aunt Mr. and Mrs. Whitehead. When Mr. & Mrs. Whitehead was falling ill, they sent letters to Mr. & Mrs. David regarding their health and offered them their businesses and assets if they flew down to California to care for the two, until they died, which they said the doctors estimated to be soon. After Mr. & Mrs. David agreed to fly down, a few days before they were able to fly down, Mr. Whitehead committed suicide. It stated “If you can come, Caro will inherit everything and you will make our lives happier… Will you let me hear from you as soon as possible…” The Davids did reply and accepted that offer. They then took care of Mrs. Whitehead till she died, and after everything, they found out that in the will, everything was left to another nephew. Issue: Was the contract valid, or was it unenforcable after the suicide of Mr. Whitehead
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Unformatted text preview: Rule: In a Unilateral contract, there must be a performance before the contract is considered valid. In a Bilateral contract, there must be a promise of a promise before it is considered to be a valid contract. If it is unclear, the default contract is a Bilateral contract. Rational: The court stated that there was no indication of desired Unilateral or Bilateral contract specifically. What they do see, from the letters being exchanged, is that the Whiteheads really trusted the Davids, and that they were looking more for a promise to come down to help them, and then the actual performance to be carried out. Also, because it was unclear, the court adopted the Bilateral default. Holding: The Contract was deemed Bilateral, and thus valid when the Davids sent the letter back to Whitehead, which they received (before committing suicide). The inheritance will belong to the Davids. Synthesis: Dissent/Concurrences:...
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