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1-MutualAssent-Stepp v Freeman

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					Stepp v. Freeman, Court of Appeals of Ohio, 1997

Notes
equitable estoppel
where a court will not grant a judgment or other legal relief to a party who has not acted fairly; for example, by having made false representations or concealing material facts from the other party. This illustrates the legal maxim: "he who seeks equity, must do equity."

Facts
P was part of a lottery group run by D for 5 years. D had rules by which he ran the group. The group did not play every drawing period but only when the jackpot was > $8 mil. The unwritten agreement was that any winnings would be divided equally amongst the group members. D collected money from group members by “walking around” reminders and sometimes put in for those who either did not have the money or were not available. No group member was ever dropped from the group without the member’s consent and volition. At the time of the winning drawing, P and D were not on speaking terms for work related reasons. This let D to not tell P that he owed money for a drawing and P was also dropped from the list without his knowledge

affirmative defense
part of an answer to a charge or complaint in which a defendant takes the offense and responds to the allegations with his/her own charges, which are called "affirmative defenses."

implied contract
an agreement which is found to exist based on the circumstances when to deny a contract would be unfair and/or result in unjust enrichment to one of the parties

Procedure
P. brought a claim against D that D denied him his rightful share of the lottery winnings on grounds of breach of express contract, implied contract and estoppel. A magistrate ruled for P. D objected but a trial court ruled in favor of P. D is appealing the judgment claiming the court erred in its favorable ruling on the equitable estoppel and breach of implied contract.

express contract
a contract in which all elements are specifically stated (offer, acceptance, consideration), and the terms are stated, as compared to an "implied" contract in which the existence of the contract is assumed by the circumstances.

Issue
Was there an implied-in-fact contract between P and D?

Law
An implied-in-fact contract exists between 2 parties when the surrounding circumstances, including their conduct and declarations make it inferable that a contract exists as a matter of understanding.

contract
The existence of a contract requires finding the following factual elements: a) an offer; b) an acceptance of that offer which results in a meeting of the minds; c) a promise to perform; d) a valuable consideration (which can be a promise or payment in some form); e) a time or event when performance must be made (meet commitments); f) terms and conditions for performance, including fulfilling promises; g) performance, if the contract is "unilateral".

Reasoning
P. proved that an implied-in-fact contract existed. D. has rules for running the lottery group. Most group members’ responsibilities were to pay when prompted by D. Pre-payment was not necessary. P. was still party to the contract at the time of the winning since he did not declare his intention to drop from the group nor did D replace P with someone from the waiting list as were D’s group rules. D. was in breach of contract on two grounds 1) because he did not tell P that the group was playing and 2) because he dropped P from the group

unilaterally.

Holding
Court did not err. Judgment affirmed

Stepp v. Freeman, Court of Appeals of Ohio, 1997 Issue: Was there an implied-in-fact contract between P and D? Reasoning Rule Facts
P was part of a lottery group run by D for 5 years. D had rules by which he ran the group. The group did not play every drawing period but only when the jackpot was > $8 mil. The unwritten agreement was that any winnings would be divided equally amongst the group members. D collected money from group members by “walking around” reminders and sometimes put in for those who either did not have the money or were not available. No group member was ever dropped from the group without the member’s consent and volition.

P. proved that an implied-in-fact contract existed. D. had rules for running the lottery group. Most group members’ responsibilities were to pay when prompted by D. Pre-payment was not necessary. P. was still party to the contract at the time of the winning since he did not declare his intention to drop from the group nor did D replace P with someone from the waiting list as were D’s group rules. D. was in breach of contract on two grounds 1) because he did not tell P that the group was playing and 2) because he dropped P from the group unilaterally.

An implied-in-fact contract exists between 2 parties when the surrounding circumstances, including their conduct and declarations make it inferable that a contract exists as a matter of understanding.

Held: Court did not err. Judgment affirmed Procedure: P. brought a claim against D that D
denied him his rightful share of the lottery winnings on grounds of breach of express contract, implied contract and estoppel. A magistrate ruled for P. D objected but a trial court ruled in favor of P. D is appealing the judgment claiming the court erred in its favorable ruling on the equitable estoppel and breach of implied contract

At the time of the winning drawing, P and D were not on speaking terms for work related reasons. This let D to not tell P that he owed money for a drawing and P was also dropped from the list without his knowledge.

Contract Elements:
Offer: a valuable consideration (which can be a promise or payment in some form); Acceptance acceptance of that offer which results in a meeting of the minds a time or event when performance must be made (meet commitments); Promise to perform terms and conditions for performance, including fulfilling promises performance, if the contract is "unilateral".


				
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