Contracts Case Briefs
Students must write and submit a case brief to the school for each case listed below. Any cases not covered in the casebook may be located in books at a local law library or online at LexisNexis. If a student can’t find a required case, a different case on the same topic from the casebook may be used for the preparation of a written case brief.
Note that students are required to read the cases in their casebook, then write their own briefs. Submitting an already-written brief from Casenote Legal Briefs books, online sites such as casenotes.com, quimbee, lawnix, etc., or even from LexisNexis, is not allowed. Presenting such briefs as if they are one’s own is plagiarism and will result in a grade of “fail.” Again, students must read the actual cases, then write their own briefs.
The case briefs are graded as “pass” or “fail” only. The most common reason students fail the case briefs assignment is plagiarism. Therefore students should take care to use quotation marks when quoting from the original case decision, and they should use their own words for all other parts of the briefs. Students who need help in learning to write a case brief should read the article, Why and How to Write a Case Brief, posted on the Study Skills and Tips for Success page.
Students must submit all case briefs together, so students must complete the assignment for each course in which they are enrolled for the year, then submit them all at once. We recommend completing the case briefs for all courses and submitting them during the 5th to 7th month of study. Most students find it easiest to brief each required case as they come across it in their reading of the case book. Then, when they finish reading the book, they will also have finished the case briefs.
Note that in order to be eligible to request final exams, students must have submitted case briefs and received a grade of “pass.” John Doe Contracts November 15, 2018 Case Briefs Lucy v. Zehmer Supreme Court of Appeals of Virginia, 1954 TOPIC: Intent to Contract CASE: Lucy v. Zehmer. 196 Va. 493, 84 S.E.2d, 516. (1954) FACTS: Lucy (plaintiff) sued the Zehmers (defendants) to enforce a contract to sell a farm owned by the Zehmers. Mr. Zehmer drafted a contract selling the farm to Lucy for $50,000. Zehmer and his wife both signed the contract, as did Lucy. When Lucy offered to bind the contract with partial payment of $5.00, Mr. Zehmer refused to take her money, saying the entire the transaction was made in jest, that in fact, he was drunk.
HISTORY: The trial court held for Zehmer. Lucy appeals.
ISSUE: Was the Zehmers’ offer made in jest so that there was no valid contract formed, leaving Is Lucy unable to recover for breach of contract?
RULING: No. The Supreme Court of Appeals of Virginia reversed the trial court’s decision and ordered specific performance of the contract.
RATIONALE: The court found evidence justifying Lucy’s belief that Zehmer was acting in good faith and intended to be bound. For instance, the parties discussed the contract for forty minutes, including what was to be included in the sale and provisions for the examination of the title. The court also concluded that Zehmer was not drunk to the extent of being unable to understand the nature and consequences of the transaction. For instance, he changed the first contract to include his wife’s signature.
RULE: Actual mental assent of the parties is not required to form a contract. If the words or other acts of the parties have only one reasonable meaning, then an undisclosed intention is immaterial. Page 1(bottom center)
List of Required Cases for the Contracts Case Briefs Assignment
Ray v. William G. Eurice & Bros., Inc., 201 Md. 115, 93 A.2d 272 (1952). (Objective Theory of Contracts)
Dougherty v. Salt, 227 N.Y. 200, 125 N.E. 94 (1919). (Consideration)
Brown Machine, Inc. v. Hercules, Inc., 770 S.W.2d 416 (1989). (Qualified Acceptances; U.C.C. 2-207)
Drennan v. Star Paving Co., 51 Cal.2d 409, 333 P.2d 757 (1958). (Reliance)
Webb v. McGowin, 27 Ala App. 82, 168 So. 196, 232 Ala. 374 (1936). (Moral Obligation)
Wood v. Lucy, Lady Duff-Gordon, 118 N.E. 214, 222 N.Y. 88, (1917). (Promises Grounded in the Past) Henningsen v. Bloomfield Motors, Inc., 32 N.J. 358, 161 A.2d 69 (1960). (Use of Standardized Forms)
Lenawee County Board of Health v. Messerly, 417 Mich. 17, 331 N.W.2d 203 (1982). (Mistake)
Vogan v. Hayes Appraisal Associates, Inc., 588 N.W.2d 420 (1999). (Third Party Beneficiary Contracts)
Hadley v. Baxendale, 9 Exch 341, 156 Eng. Rep. 145 (1854). (Limitation on Expectation Damages)