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Brackenbury v. Hodgkin - 116 Me. 399

Rule:

In a unilateral contract the only acceptance of the offer that is necessary is the performance of the act. In other words the promise becomes binding when the act is performed.

Facts:

The mother sent a letter to plaintiffs and proposed that plaintiffs move from Missouri to Maine to take care of the mother. The letter closed with the statement that plaintiffs would receive the house upon the mother's death. Plaintiffs moved to Maine. After family difficulties, the mother ordered plaintiffs from the home but they refused to leave. The mother executed and delivered to her son a deed of the premises, reserving a life estate. On that same day, the son served a notice to quit upon plaintiffs, as preliminary to an action of forcible entry and detainer. Plaintiffs brought an action against the mother and the son. The trial court sustained plaintiffs' bill in equity.

Issue:

Was there a contract formed between the plaintiffs and the mother?

Answer:

Yes

Conclusion:

On appeal, the court affirmed the trial court's judgment. Plaintiffs had accepted the mother's offer by moving to Maine and entering upon the performance of the specified acts, and had continued to perform so far as had been permitted by the mother. The contract between the parties, the performance of which was entered upon by plaintiffs, created an equitable interest in the land in favor of plaintiffs. Finally, the trial court had special statutory jurisdiction to grant relief in cases of trusts.

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