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The Legal Stipulations of Misrepresentation in Advertising

Bob is tired of working as an attorney and decides to open a pet shop. Although Bob knows nothing about dogs, he decides to specialize in retrievers. Bob calls up Dog Breeder and orders 10 Black Labrador retrievers, 10 Chocolate Labrador retrievers, and 10 Yellow Labrador retrievers. All dogs are to be pure bred and male.

Breeder mistakenly sends Bob 5 male and 5 female retrievers of each category. Bob does not notice the difference. Although Breeder "certifies" that they are pure bred, he does not send any papers.

Bob puts an ad in the newspaper advertising male Black Labs $200.00 each, male Yellow Labs $150.00 each, male Chocolate Labs $100.00 each. Grand Opening Sale.

The ad works and Bob's store is busy. Sally is the first person in the door and immediately picks out a cute female black lab. Neither Bob nor Sally knows it is a female. Bob writes up a contract transferring ownership to Sally.

Printed on the contract is a statement "All Sales Final." Sally signs the contract, pays cash, and leaves with her new dog.

Betty, a dog trainer, asks for a pure bred Yellow Labrador. Betty asks, "Are you sure this is a pure bred?" Bob says, "It was certified by Dog Breeder." Betty thinks she is getting a great deal since a pure bred yellow lab typically sells for $1,000.00. Betty signs her contract and pays for the dog.

All the dogs sell in a matter of minutes except for one chocolate lab.

Sally calls her sister Sarah who has been looking for a Labrador. Sally tells Sarah that Bob is having a big sale and that she just bought the "cutest Labrador pup. It's black and costs $200.00."

Sarah immediately calls Bob. Sarah says, "I would like to buy a Labrador puppy." Bob says, "I only have one left, but will sell it to you for $100.00." Sarah says, "I will take it. Here is my credit card information and ship it to my home." Bob charged the credit card and shipped the chocolate lab to Sarah. When the dog arrives, Sarah is shocked because she thought all Labradors were black and she wanted a black Labrador.

A few days after the grand opening, Sally's vet tells her that her male dog is a female. Betty's vet determines that Betty's dog is not pure bred.

Sally, Betty, and Sarah all bring their dogs back to Bob and demand their money back. Bob refuses and states, "All sales are final."

Answer these questions by selecting the best answer and support each answer with at least two paragraphs of legal analysis.

With regard to the facts between Sally and Bob, select the probable result:
a) Unilateral Mistake, Material, Voidable
b) Unilateral Mistake, Not Material, Voidable
c) Mutual Mistake, Material, Voidable
d) Mutual Mistake, Not Material, Voidable

With regard to the facts between Betty and Bob, select the probable result:
a) Mutual mistake, Material, Voidable
b) Voidable based on Bob's Misrepresentation
c) Neither
d) Both

With regard to the facts between Sarah and Bob, select the probable result:
a) Mutual mistake, Voidable
b) Unilateral mistake, Valid Contract

Be sure to comment not only on the strengths of your position but arguments likely to be raised by Sally, Betty d Sarah.

Solution Preview

1. With regard to the facts between Sally and Bob, the probable result will be answer (C), mutual mistake, material, voidable. The reason that the probable legal result in regards to the facts between Sally and Bob would be mutual mistake, material, voidable, is due to the fact that this is a situation where both Bob and Sally were mutually mistaken about the sex of the dog that she purchased, which was an assumption that would affect the basis by which the facilitation of the contract was constructed and entered into. In addition, this mistaken assumption would lead to a tremendous material effect on the exchange that was agreed upon and acted upon by Sally and Bob, in reference to the exchange of the dog for an agreed-upon cash amount. This situation makes this contract voidable by Sally, due to the fact that she was invariably adversely affected by this mutual mistake, and the subsequent exchange.

The strength of my position in this situation, is supported by the fact that in nearly every jurisdiction, this situation would be viewed as a mutual mistake, material, ...