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Determining a Valid Contract

You are currently an intern working for the largest law firm in Alabama. Your mentor and senior attorney introduces you to a new client, Dick Jefferson, the owner of House Doctor, Inc. Mr. Jefferson relates the following story during the meeting.

Jefferson met with Yolanda Jackson, 85 years old, and her son, Melvin, about adding a room to Ms Jackson's home and providing a home-maintenance plan. Melvin handles his mother's financial matters, but he had to leave for work ten minutes after Jefferson arrived to talk with them.

During the meeting, Mr. Jefferson noticed several brochures from the American Schizophrenia Society on Ms. Jackson's kitchen table. In addition, she asked Mr. Jefferson to get her a glass of water so that she could take her medication. Mr. Jefferson opened the prescription bottle containing the medication Abilify for Ms. Jackson, because she said she could not figure out the childproof cap. Jefferson also noticed a bottle sitting on the window ledge labeled Haldol.

Mr. Jefferson discussed a two-year home-maintenance package, which included the room addition and any repairs the house needed during that time. The cost of the room addition and two-year maintenance plan was $50,000.00. Ms. Jackson stated that the arrangement seemed fine and asked when Mr. Jefferson could start work on the room. Mr. Jefferson indicated that he could start work on the room the following Monday.

Mr. Jefferson showed up at Ms. Jackson's house the next Monday at 7:00 a.m. and started work on the new room. Ms. Jackson had been away for the weekend and did not return home until 4:00 p.m. that afternoon. At that time, Ms. Jackson told Mr. Jefferson that she no longer wanted him to provide maintenance on her home or the new room, because she had found a cheaper company. Mr. Jefferson packed up his materials and his crew left Ms. Jackson's home. Mr. Jefferson has come to your firm to inquire about enforcing his contract against Ms. Jackson.

Prepare an interoffice memorandum, to the firm's senior attorney that addresses the following issues:

Does a valid contract exist between Ms. Jackson and Mr. Jefferson? Please discuss the basic requirements for contract formation.

What defects in the contract formation process may have occurred? Consider arguments for each party.

Consider all the legal concepts addressed in this course to date, defining your terms as you apply them to the relevant facts.

Finally, also provide practical solutions that may help Mr. Jefferson avoid the potential defects in the contract formation process that he now faces.

Solution Preview

In this case, a valid contract does exist between Ms. Jackson and Mr. Jefferson, largely due to the fact that there was an offer to provide services in respect to providing a room addition and a two-year maintenance plan at a cost of $50,000. The fact that Ms. Jackson stated that the arrangement or offer seemed fine, and asked Mr. Jefferson when he could start work on the room, would suffice to any reasonable person as an acceptance of the offer, which would result in a binding verbal contractual agreement between Mr. Jefferson and Ms. Jackson. In addition, the fact that Mr. Jefferson answered Ms. Jackson's question with an affirmative start date of the following Monday would provide additional affirmation of a verbal contract between these two individuals. The presence of adequate consideration would also help to ...

Solution Summary

This solution discusses the elements required by law for the formation of a contract and Ms. Jackson's capacity to enter into a contract in 546 words.