Contracts Law Mailbox Rules and Examples Restatement 2nd , Formulas and forms for Civil Law. University of Mississippi (MS)
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crawmoore

Contracts Law Mailbox Rules and Examples Restatement 2nd , Formulas and forms for Civil Law. University of Mississippi (MS)

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This document is a collection of contract law mailbox rules along with examples please review hope it helps
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KMailbox 1/4

REVIEW OF THE MAILBOX RULE AND RELATED RULES

Prof. Bell

I. Rules for Forming Contracts via Correspondence

A. Generally, acceptance is effective when sent, regardless of whether it reaches the offeror. See Restatement (2nd) § 63.

1. But note that exceptions apply (see id.):

a. if the offer provides otherwise;

b. if acceptance is not made in a manner and by a medium invited by the offer; or

c. to acceptance under an option contract, which is effective upon receipt by the offeror.

2. Note also that id. § 40 modifies the mailbox rule when an earlier rejection arrives before a later acceptance (see below).

B. Generally, revocation is effective when received by the offeree. See Restatement (2nd) § 42. But note that an exception applies in the case of option contracts, per id. § 37.

C. Generally, rejection or counter-offer is effective when received by the offeror. See Restatement (2nd) § 40. But note that, per id., an acceptance sent after an otherwise effective rejection or counter-offer:

1. operates only as a counter-offer if the offeror receives it after the earlier- sent rejection or counter-offer (thus providing an exception to the mailbox rule); and

2. operates as an acceptance if the offeror receives it before the earlier-sent rejection or counter-offer.

D. A useful mnemonic: Acceptance on answer; revocation or rejection on receipt.

KMailbox 2/4

II. Applying the Rules

A. Reading the illustrations: In the illustrations that follow, the vertical distance between the offeror and offeree represents the space across which they communicate. Time progresses from left to right along the horizontal axis. Relatively slow communications appear as slanted lines, therefore, while relatively instantaneous ones appear as vertical lines. Unless otherwise noted, "rejection" stands for "rejection or counter-offer."

B. Caveats: These illustrations address generic contract formation; that is, they assume that the offerors have not put special conditions on the proper mode of acceptance, that acceptance is in a manner and by a medium invited by the offer, and that option contracts are not at issue.

C. Standard acceptance (effective at "X")

OFFEROR: offer receipt of effective acceptance \ / \ /

\ X OFFEREE: acceptance

D. Lost acceptance (effective at "X")

OFFEROR: offer \ ? acceptance lost \ /

\ X OFFEREE: acceptance

E. Revocation trumped by earlier acceptance (effective at "X")

OFFEROR: offer revocation receipt of effective acceptance \ | / \ |/ \ / \ /|

\ X v OFFEREE: acceptance receipt of ineffective revocation

KMailbox 3/4

F. Rejection trumped by earlier acceptance (effective at "X")

receipt of receipt of OFFEROR: offer ineff. rej. effective acceptance

\ ∆ / \ | / \ |/ \ / \ /|

\ X | OFFEREE: acceptance rejection

NB: But see Comment c and Illustration 7 to Restatement (2nd) § 63, providing that the offeree may be estopped to enforce the contract against an offeror who reasonably relies on the earlier-received rejection.

G. Rejection trumped by faster revocation (effective at "X")

Offeror: offer rev. receipt of ineffective rejection \ | / \ |/ \ | \ /|

\ / v OFFEREE: rejection X-receipt of effective revocation

H. Revocation trumped by faster rejection (effective at "X")

OFFEROR: offer rev. X-receipt of effective rejection \ \ ∆ \ \| \ | \ |\

\ | \ OFFEREE: rejection receipt of ineffective revocation

KMailbox 4/4

I. Rejection trumped by later acceptance (effective at "X")

receipt of receipt of OFFEROR: offer eff. accept. ineffective rejection

\ ∆ / \ | / \ |/ \ / \ /|

\ / X OFFEREE: rejection acceptance

J. Acceptance trumped by earlier rejection (effective at "X")

receipt of receipt of OFFEROR: offer eff. rej.- X ineffective acceptance

\ / / \ / / \ / / \ / / \ / /

\ / / OFFEREE: rejection acceptance

NB: Even though here the acceptance is sent before the receipt of the rejection, Restatement (2nd) § 40 modifies the mailbox rule to provide that a prior-sent rejection or counter-offer will, if received before the putative acceptance, render that acceptance a mere counter-offer.

K. A Puzzle: Rejection, Revocation, or Acceptance?

rec. of receipt of OFFEROR: offer revocation rej.-? acceptance

\ \ / / \ \ / / \ \/ / \ / \ / \ / /\

\ / ? \ OFFEREE: rejection acc. ?-receipt of revocation

NB: E, supra, suggests that the acceptance sent prior to the receipt of the revocation will trump that revocation. G, supra, suggests that the prior-received revocation will trump the later-received rejection or counter-offer. J, supra, suggests that the rejection or counter-offer sent prior to and received before the acceptance will trump that acceptance.

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