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LUCY v. ZEHMER

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					                                           LUCY v. ZEHMER

Case Reminder           Guy enters into a contract while drunk to sell his farm

Citation                Lucy v. Zehmer

Statement of the case   This was a civil suit brought in state court. The plaintiff W.O. Lucy and J.C.
                        Lucy brought an action against the Zehmer’s for breach of contract and are
                        seeking specific performance

Procedure               The trial court held that for the defendants, the plaintiffs did not have to sell their
                        farm. The Supreme Court remanded and reversed.

Statement of fact       On the night of December 20, 1952 the defendant wrote a contract out on some
                        paper he found at a bar to sell his farm to the plaintiff (Lucy) for 50,000 dollars.
                        He wrote “We hereby agree to sell to W.O. Lucy the Ferguson Farm complete for
                        50,000$ title satisfactory to buyer” and was signed by both the defendants.
                        Zehmer the defendant claimed that the offer was joke and that it was void
                        because when it was entered into him and his wife were drunk. Plaintiff and
                        defendant were discussing the contract terms for over 40 minutes. Lucy the
                        plaintiff also attempted to offer Zehmer 5$ to bind the bargain which Zehmer
                        refused to accept. It was at this time Zehmer told Lucy he did not want to sell his
                        farm but this was after the contract was already signed.

                        The day after the contract was signed Mrs. Zehmer testified that she overhead
                        Lucy talking about the contract and stated “well with the high price whiskey you
                        were drinking last night you should have paid more. That was cheap.”Lucy
                        testified that at that time Zehmer told him that he did not want to stick him or
                        hold him to the agreement because Lucy did not have enough money. Three days
                        later Zehmer told lucy that he was only joking and did not want to sell.

Issue                   Whether or not the writing signed by the defendants and now sought to be
                        enforced by plaintiff’s was the result of a serious offer by Lucy and a serious
                        acceptance by the defendants

Decision                Yes the writing signed by the defendants and now sought to be enforced by the
                        plaintiffs was the result of a serious offer by Lucy and a serious acceptance by
                        the defendants

Rule                    Where a person says words or commits acts judged by a reasonable standard,
                        manifest an intention to agree, it is immaterial what may be the real but
                        unexpressed state of his mind

Reasoning               The court says that a person cannot set up that he was merely jesting when his
                        coduct and words would warrant a reasonable person to believe that he intended
                        a real agreement.

                        Although some drinking was taking place and Zehmer was somewhat drunk the
                        court found that he was not drunk enough to not understand what he was doing
                        and entering into a contract. The fact that he argued with Lucy for 40 minutes
                        over the terms shows that his actions were louder than his words. There was no
           fraud no misrepresentation no sharp practice and no dealing between unequal
           parties.


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posted:2/12/2010
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