Phillips v. Moor Case Brief

Summary of Phillips v. Moor
(71 Me. 78)

Issue: Who was in possession of the Hay at the time of the fire?

Holding: The hay had already been sold, under contract, to the Defendant, he was the title holder and therefore responsible for the goods.


  • The Defendant negotiated with the Plaintiff to purchase hay from the Plaintiff’s barn
  • In the absence of a deal, it was agreed that the Defendant’s men would be paid for pressing the Plaintiff’s hay
  • The Plaintiff’s guardian wrote to the Defendant saying that if the “offer is satisfactory, I shall accept it"
  • Friday, June 14th, the Defendant made an offer of $9.50/ton, for all but three tons, and the other three for $5.00
  • It is safely assumed by the court that the offer was received on June 15th
  • On June 20th, in receiving no better offers, the Plaintiff’s guardian wrote to the Defendant that he was in hopes the Defendant would pay $10.00/ton but that he could take the hay for his offer but should consider paying $10.00 for it
  • The Defendant received this response and made no reply to it
  • On that Sunday, the hay was burnt in the barn
  • Shortly afterwards, the Plaintiff claimed the price of the hay and the Defendant denied his liability, and asserted a claim for pressing.

Reasoning: It may be conceded that the defendant wanted a more prompt response to his offer, but the defendant did not retract it (or refuse to be bound by it when receiving the acceptance). Two days elapsed before the fire, after the Defendant knew of the acceptance of his offer, and he permitted the Plaintiff’s guardian to consider it sold and to make the arrangements with a third party to ship it. If the party to whom an offer is made makes known his acceptance of it to the party making the offer, within any period which he could fairly have supposed to be reasonable, good faith requires the maker of the offer, if he intends to retract on account of the delay, to make known that intention promptly. If he does not, he must be regarded as waiving any objection to the acceptance as being too late.

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