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Jan opens a sandwich shop across the street from a sandwich shop run by Amy. Amy is disturbed by this competition and agrees to pay Jan $5000 in exchange for Jan's promise to quit her business and not to engage in a similar business within a ten-mile radius of Amy's business. Is this contract legal and enforceable? Why or why not? If the agreement is not enforceable, how might Jan and Amy restructure it to increase its chances of being legal?

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This is a bilateral contract akin to a non-compete agreement. It is most likely enforceable because the geographic distance within it is so small. However, this depends on the area as a ten mile distance in a big city is nothing but in a rural area where there is only one ...

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Discussion on the legality of contracts

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Contracts - Whether a valid contract was formed

This question came from a Bar Exam. Can you help me with the answer. It is for review. Thank you.

Question 4: You are an associate with an upstate New York law firm. A senior partner seeks your assistance concerning a matter presented by a new corporate client, Chips, Inc. ("Chips"). Chips manufactures two different computer chips, one designed for laptop computers and one designed for handheld computing devices.

The partner shares with you that on October 28, 1999, Devices Corp. ("Devices") faxed Chips an offer to buy 1,000 chips for handheld computing devices. The offer provided for payment in the sum of $500,000 on delivery, which was to take place by December 15, 1999.

One day later, Chips faxed Devices written confirmation that Chips would provide the 1,000 computer chips as specified, but "would suggest shipment in the year 2000 on or before January 16, 2000 to avoid Y2K problems."

On January 9, 2000, Devices faxed Chips instructions for shipping the computer chips. That same day, Chips forwarded 1,000 computer chips to Devices. On January 10, immediately upon receiving the lot of 1,000 computer chips, Devices overnighted a check to Chips in the amount of $500,000. The following day, on inspecting the shipment, Devices noticed that the chips received were for laptop computers, not handheld devices. That same day, Devices received word that the ultimate purchaser of the handheld devices for which the chips were to be utilized was canceling its order. Devices immediately stopped payment on its $500,000 check, and notified Chips that, because the shipment was non-conforming, it was canceling the order. On that same day, but following receipt of the notice advising that the wrong chips had been delivered, Chips called Devices and said it would cure the problem immediately. Chips then forwarded the correct chips, which were received by Devices on January 15, 2000.

Devices inspected that shipment and found it to conform with the order. Nevertheless, Devices returned the entire shipment to Chips, accompanied by an acknowledgment of receipt form, which included an unequivocal general release of Devices for any and all claims Chips might have against Devices. The receipt form was signed by the supervising clerk in the shipping department of Chips and returned to Devices. When Chips presented the $500,000 check for payment, Devices' bank refused to honor it due to the stop payment order. On January 31, 2000, Chips brought suit against Devices seeking full payment for the chips.

Upon proof of the foregoing facts, Devices moved for summary judgment. The court granted the motion dismissing Chips' claim. The court found that there was a valid contract, but that Chips had breached the contract by initially delivering non-conforming goods and, in any event, Chips' representative had signed a release of all claims. The attorneys previously representing Chips have advised that an appeal is not worth pursuing.

The partner would like you to prepare a memorandum discussing:

1. Whether a valid contract was formed.

2. Whether, assuming a valid contract, Chips' non-conforming delivery afforded Devices the right to cancel.

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