Contracts Keyed to Murphy
Southworth v. Oliver
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Defendant decided to sell some of their property and some of their Forest Service grazing permits. Defendant stopped by Plaintiff’s house and asked if Plaintiff was interested in buying the property. Plaintiff said yes. Defendant said he thought Plaintiff would be interested in the land and Holliday, a neighbor, would be interested in the permits. Defendant showed a map to Plaintiff showing the land that was for sale. This conversation ended with the understanding that Defendant would develop the value and price and Plaintiff would get the financing arranged for the purchase. Defendant said that he would send information to the Plaintiff about what price he wanted so as to “give him ‘notice’ of ‘what he wanted for the land.'” Defendant called Holliday and Holliday said he was not interested in the land only the permits. Plaintiff called Defendant almost a month later to ask if Defendant still planned to sell. Defendant said yes, he had some delays, but he would soon have infor mation to establish the value of the land. Plaintiff said he had made all of the financial arrangement and he was ready to make an offer. Days later Plaintiff received a letter from Defendant that included the asking price and explicit terms and the date of sale for the property as well as the asking price for the permits. There was a second enclosure with a similar property. Defendant sent the letter to Holliday and two others. Defendant claimed the letter was not made as an offer and the intention was to sell property and permits together. Plaintiff immediately responded to letter “I accept your offer.” Holliday called Plaintiff and said he needed to buy some of that land and Plaintiff said he would work something out with Holliday. Defendant was informed by Holliday that he and Plaintiff were having trouble with the exchange, but that they would work it out. Defendant decided to pull the offer because he did not want to arbitrate a disagreement between his neighbors. Defendant sent a letter to Plaintiff saying that the first letter was not a firm offer to sale. Defendant said he did not wish to sell the permits separate from land. Defendant claimed in the letter that it would not constitute an enforceable contract.
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