Contract Law

Module 1 – Case


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Assignment Overview

Before starting your Case Assignment, make sure to thoroughly review the required reading. Make sure you fully understand the main elements of a contract and all of the conditions required for a contract to be valid. Then go through the five scenarios below, keeping the concepts from the module in mind. You will need to cite the background readings in your answers.

Case Assignment

For each scenario, answer the questions. Make sure to support each answer with at least one reference to the required background materials. Be clear about how the reading supports your answer. Your paper should be 4 to 5 pages in length:

1. Suppose you are down at the marina cleaning your pleasure cruising boat. The captain of the boat next door has a friend on board who can’t stop complimenting your boat. The captain’s friend offers to pay you $75,000 for your boat if he can take possession this week. You’ve had the boat for a while, and you yourself bought it used. Recently when you were considering an upgrade, a dealer offered you $50,000 in trade-in value on your boat. You decide to accept the next-door captain’s friend’s $75,000 offer. The two of you go down to his lawyer’s office and the two of you sign a contract agreeing that you will hand over your boat and the captain’s friend will wire $75,000 to your bank account within one business day. As the two of you agreed in the contract, the next day you move the boat into the designated slip (parking place) and you hand over the keys to the harbor master to be picked up by the new owner. However, a week goes by and you still do not have your money. You learn that the harbor master still has the keys. You try to track the buyer down, but you find out from the next-door captain that he, the captain, was surprised to learn his friend is currently in a rehab facility for serious drug addiction and mental exhaustion. Given that you have a written contract, do you think you would be able to enforce the contract and would be able to get the $75,000 in this situation?

2. Suppose you are a chicken farmer and you sign an agreement with a local chicken rotisserie restaurant owner to sell a large quantity of organic chickens to him every month. The written contract states that you will sell him “good quality” organic chickens. However, when you send the first shipment, the grocer comes back and says they are not high quality enough and he will not pay you. You reply that your chickens meet United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) guidelines for being “Grade A” which is the highest grade you can receive, and that they are certified to meet USDA organic standards. The restaurateur claims your chickens are not of the quality he had in mind, the contract does not say anything about the USDA, and his willingness to pay depends only on his own ideas about what is good quality. What do you think should have been added to the contract to avoid this kind of dispute? Will you be able to get paid for your chickens if you file a lawsuit seeking to force the restaurateur to pay?

3. You enjoy going to the horse-racing track on Sundays and have been doing so for the past 10 years. You’ve gotten to know some of the other regulars there. One Sunday you are complaining to a friend there that you’d like to place a bet on a specific horse to win, but the track is offering such low odds. Your friend laughs at your choice and offers to take a $100 bet himself and give you much better odds. You ask him to repeat his offer and you record a video on your cell phone of him making the offer. You also record your acceptance. Your horse wins. You think your friend owes you $500, but he doesn’t pay you the following Sunday or even mention the bet or race. If you file a lawsuit, will you be able to get the court to enforce your wager and make your friend pay you?

4. You own a plant nursery and landscaping business. You have always hated business paperwork and do not like written contracts, so you usually use oral agreements. One agreement you have is to sell someone a large palm tree for $850. Another agreement is to provide two years’ worth of monthly lawn mowing at a customer’s home in exchange for an immediate payment of $1,800. Finally, you have an oral agreement to sell an exotic houseplant to one of your customers for $400 to be delivered by the end of this month, delivery included. Which of these oral contracts (if any) will be enforceable in court, and which ones (if any) will not be enforceable? Explain your reasoning.

5. You own a small computer consulting business and have a close friend who runs a pawn shop. He wants to use your services for what is a $10,000 project. However, your friend is adamant about not signing a contract, and says, “We are friends! No need to get lawyers involved; we trust each other.” Being familiar with contract law, you know that since you are providing a service, rather than selling physical goods, an oral contract will be valid for amounts over $500. However, you know that your friend gets busy at work and might forget the exact terms of your oral agreement. What step or steps might you take to protect yourself from a future disagreement without a formal written contract?

Assignment Expectations

· Answer the assignment questions directly.

· Stay focused on the precise assignment questions. Do not go off on tangents or devote a lot of space to summarizing general background materials.

· Make sure to use reliable and credible sources as your references. Articles published in established newspapers or business journals/magazines are preferred. If you find articles on the Internet, make sure they are from a credible source.

· Reference your sources of information with both a bibliography and in-text citations. See the Student Guide to Writing a High-Quality Academic Paper, including pages 13 and 14 on in-text citations. Another resource is the “Writing Style Guide,” which is found under “My Resources” in the TLC Portal.

Pages 13 and 14

Do not spell out the titles and publication details of your sources in the body of your paper. Instead, provide a short citation, and add a full reference with the publication details in your reference list. Interested readers can then find the details about the article in your reference list at the end of your paper. Wrong: ¡ The first article that will be discussed is called “The Very Separate Worlds of Academic and Practitioner Periodicals in Human Resource Management” written by Sara Rynes, Tamara Giluk, and Kenneth Brown, which was published in the Academy of Management Journal (2007) Vol 50, No.5, 987-1008. They studied the gap between academic and practitioner knowledge. § Note: Do not spell out the title and publication details of your sources in the text. Right (two different ways): 1. Rynes, Giluk, and Brown (2007) found a gap between academic and practitioner knowledge. § Note: The authors are the subject of the sentence. This is referred to as an “in-text citation” and includes just the authors’ last names and year of publication. 2. A gap was found between academic and practitioner knowledge (Rynes, Giluk, & Brown, 2007). § Note: The citation is placed at the end of a sentence in parentheses. This is called a “parenthetical citation.” In this type of citation, use an ampersand (&) instead of “and.” 13 When should you cite a source? ¡ When you use your own words in referring to the ideas or concepts of others ¡ When you use the exact words that are written in one of the sources that you read § Using someone else’s exact words is called a “quotation.” § For quotes of less than 40 words, use quotation marks and follow the quote with a parenthetical citation that includes: ▪ The name(s) of the author(s) ▪ The year of publication ▪ The page number the quote was taken from in the original source— for example: “Academic and practitioner periodicals in human resource management are worlds apart” (Rynes, Giluk, & Brown, 2010, p. 992). § Any phrase or quote of 40 or more words should be separated from the text of your report by single spacing and by indenting from the both right and left margin. This is called an “offset quote.” 1

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