Summary of Beall v. Beall
P/S: Plaintiff appealed an order of the Circuit Court, which granted defendant landowner’s motion dismissing the buyer’s complaint.
F: The defendant owned the parcel that bordered on three sides of a farm that the plaintiff had purchased. The same day he contracted to buy the farm, the plaintiff obtained a three-year option to purchase the landowner’s parcel, for which he paid a money consideration. The option was never exercised, and the parties executed a new option for five years and for an additional consideration. The later option was never exercised, but language was appended to the agreement extending the option for three more years. When the plaintiff attempted to exercise the option, the defendant had died, and the trial court found that there was no consideration for the extension because no benefit flowed to the defendant’s widow.
I: Can the plaintiff exercise an option contract without being supported by consideration?
H: An option contract will be irrevocable if supported by consideration.
I: Can there be acceptance of an offer in an option contract if no consideration is provided?
H: Yes, assuming the offeror has not revoked the offer.
The court held that it was an error for the chancellor to dismiss P’s bill of complaint without the chancellor making a factual determination of the finding s on the issues material to the case
Rule: An option unsupported by consideration was no longer irrevocable but became a mere offer to sell which the optionor could withdraw at any time before acceptance
· An option is a binding agreement if supported by consideration of which gives the option its irrevocable character for the period provided in the option, and not a mere offer sell which can be withdrawn by the person presenting the option at anytime before acceptance.
If consideration is not present to support an option agreement, the option is no longer irrevocable but rather it maintains as an offer to sell which can be withdrawn at any time before acceptance.
1.1 Each side was bargaining for an additional three years added on to the purchase option with the same terms as the previous options.
1.2 There was no consideration recited in the extension or purported extension of the original option extension.
2.1 the chancellor will have to resolve whether or not there was a valid, unrevoked offer to sell the property in dispute and whether there was a proper acceptance of that offer sufficient to create a contract specifically enforceable in equity. If I represent plaintiff, I set forth that regardless of the fact that there was no consideration, the 1975 option was still offer an offer to sell, and my client accepted the offer. If I represent defendant, I claim that there was not option present due to lack of consideration and that ____________-?
2.2 Because otherwise the offeror (the defendant) receives no benefit for the extension. The outcome would have been the same regardless of the terms of the extension. According to the Restatement of Contracts sec. 48 “a revocable offer is terminated by the offeror’s death or such insanity as deprives him of legal capacity to enter into the proposed contract". So, in this case, since the extension lacked consideration, which made it revocable, the option would not survive the death of the optionor.