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Contracts Keyed to Summers
Davis v. Jacoby
Citation:1 Cal. 2d 370, 34 P.2d 1026
ProfessorMelissa A. Hale
CaseCast™ – "What you need to know"
Rupert and Blanche Whitehead (collectively the “Whiteheads”) were a married couple with no children and they lived in California. They had a close and loving relationship with Blanche’s niece, Caro (co-plaintiff), who they often referred to as their daughter. After Caro married Frank Davis (co-plaintiff) (collectively “the Davises”) and moved to Canada, the couple still frequently visited and corresponded with the Whiteheads. As the Whiteheads got older, they both suffered from deteriorating health. After Blanche was hospitalized, on April 12th, Rupert wrote Caro a letter that stated, if she came to live with him and Blanche and cared for them, then Caro “will inherit everything.” On February 14th, Frank received the letter. After Caro and Frank discussed the letter, Frank immediately wrote a reply letter accepting the offer. Frank’s letter, however, was lost in the mail. On April 22nd, Rupert committed suicide. Caro and Frank immediately went to California and they cared for Blanche until she died on May 30th. After the Whiteheads’ deaths, Caro discovered that their wills devised their property to Rupert’s nephews, Geoff Doubble and Rupert Ross Whitehead (defendants). The wills made no mention of Caro and Frank. Caro sued on the ground that Rupert had assumed a contractual obligation to make a will where she would “inherit everything.” The trial court found that there was an offer to contract based on Rupert’s letter that could only be accepted by performance and could not be accepted by a promise to perform. The trial court also found that the offer was revoked by Rupert’s death before performance.
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