Contracts Keyed to Dawson
Davis v. Jacoby
ProfessorMelissa A. Hale
CaseCast™ – "What you need to know"
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- Procedural Posture & History: Shares the case history with how lower courts have ruled on the matter.
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- Facts: What are the factual circumstances that gave rise to the civil or criminal case? What is the relationship of the Parties that are involved in the case. Review the Facts of this case here:
Caro was the niece of Mr. and Mrs. Whitehead, and she and her husband had a very close relationship with them. Mr. and Mrs. Whitehead were elderly and infirmed, and Mr. Whitehead sought assistance from Frank and Caro to leave their home in Windsor, Canada and come to California. In a letter dated April 12, 1931, which was construed as a definite offer, Whitehead asked them to “come out here and be with me and look after [his] affairs,” and if they agreed, Caro would “inherit everything.” In a return letter, Mr. Davis unequivocally stated that he and Mrs. Davis accepted the proposition, and that they would both leave Windsor to go to him on April 25th. On April 22nd, Mr. and Mrs. Davis were engaged in closing out their business affairs and home and making arrangements to leave when Mr. Whitehead committed suicide. Mr. and Mrs. Davis immediately went to California, and stayed by Mrs. Davis’ side until she passed away on May 30th. After Mrs. Whitehead’s death, it was discovered that she had left everything to her husband, and Mr. Whitehead had left everything to his nephews, the respondents. This action was commenced on the theory that Mr. Whitehead entered into a contractual obligation to make a will, Mr. and Mrs. Davis fully performed their side of the agreement, and specific performance should be granted upon the equitable principle that “equity regards as done that which ought to be done.” The trial found that the letter of April 12th was an offer to enter into a unilateral contract that could only be accepted by performance and not a promise to perform, that Mr. Whitehead’s suicide revoked the offer and the purported acceptance was of no legal effect.
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