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Contracts Keyed to Kuney
Southworth v. Oliver
Citation:284 Or. 361, 587 P.2d 994 (1978).
In 1976, the Olivers decided to cut down their ranching operations and planned to sell some of their land in Bear Valley, as well as some of their Forest Service grazing permits. Joseph Oliver approached neighboring ranchers about purchasing the land and the permits. On May 20, 1976, Joseph stopped at Southworth’s ranch to discuss selling the 2,933 acres of land in Bear Valley. Southworth expressed that he was very much interested in purchasing the land. Southworth also told Oliver he thought another neighbor, Clyde Holliday, might be interested in buying the permits. During the meeting, Oliver showed Southworth the land for sale on a map, but there was no discussion of price or terms because Oliver needed to determine the properties value. At the end of the meeting, Oliver stated that he would send Southworth “notice” of “what he wanted for the land” once he made a determination of value and Southworth stated that he would work on finding the money and making arrangements for the purchase. On June 13, 1976, Southworth called Oliver and asked if he still planned to sell the land. Oliver stated that he did and there was delay in acquiring the necessary information from the Assessor. Southworth advised Oliver that he had everything in order and the money was available to make the purchase. On June 17, 1976, the Olivers sent a letter to Southworth and three other neighboring ranchers containing information about the lands for sale and market values of the land and grazing permits. Southworth immediately responded on June 21, 1976 that he accepted the offer for sale of the Bear Valley lands. On June 23, 1976, Clyde Holliday called Southworth and told him he needed to acquire some of the land he had agreed to buy from the Olivers. Joseph Oliver acknowledged that Holliday had informed him that Holliday and Southworth were having difficulty working things out. On June 24, 1976, the Olivers sent Southworth a letter informing him that he had misconstrued their prior negotiations and the June 17th letter was not intended as a firm offer for sale, but was informational.
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