Summary of Morrison v. Thoelke
Ct. App. 1963
Relevant Facts: Appellees/plaintiffs are owners of the subject property in Orange County, FL. Appellants/defendants, as purchasers, executed a contract for the sale and purchase of the property and mailed the contract to appellees in Texas. The next day appellees executed the contract and placed it in the mail addressed to appellant’s attorney in FL. After mailing and prior to receipt appellees called appellant’s attorney and canceled and repudiated the execution. Appellant upon receipt recorded the contract.
Legal Issue(s): Whether a contract is complete and binding when a letter of acceptance is mailed or when the letter of acceptance is received ?
Court’s Holding: When the letter is mailed.
Procedure: Dt. Ct. summary for PL/ee; Reversed and remanded.
Law or Rule(s): The offeree has the power to accept and close the contract by mailing a letter of acceptance, properly stamped and addressed, within a reasonable time. The contract is regarded as made at the time and place that the letter of acceptance is put into the possession of the post office.
Court Rationale: When the offeror assents and at the very instant of posting that assent, an agreement has been reached. The right to effectively withdraw must be dependent upon the initial determination of when the acceptance is effective and irrevocable. There must be a point in time when a contract is complete. An acceptance is effective upon mailing and not receipt. The acceptance was manifested at the point of depositing in the mail.
Plaintiff’s Argument: A renunciation prior to receipt of the acceptance voids the acceptance. Acceptance is complete only upon receipt of the mailed acceptance.
Defendant’s Argument: The acceptance was effective when the letter of acceptance was deposited.