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A party seeking to rely on a contract bears the burden of proving that a contract was formed. Washington follows the objective manifestation test to determine the existence of a contract. The unexpressed subjective intention of the parties is irrelevant; the mutual assent of the parties must be determined by their objective acts or outward manifestations. Ordinarily, the objective manifestations of mutual assent are an offer by one party and an acceptance by the other. Parties need not reach perfect assent, but rather assent to a core of common meaning that determines both parties' performance obligations with enough certainty to fashion a legal remedy.
Plaintiff season ticket holders sued defendant basketball club, asserting claims of breach of contract. They alleged that the club sent a brochure stating that those 2006-2007 holders who renewed their tickets for the 2007-2008 season would receive benefits that included pricing protection through the 2009-2010 season, so they renewed their tickets. The defendant knew that there was a high probability the team would leave Washington, and the team was moved to Oklahoma after the 2007-2008 season.
Was the plaintiffs’ breach of contract claim viable?
It was viable because a contract was formed when the holders bought their 2007-2008 season tickets. Further, the club could not excuse performance by alleging that the holders, due to media coverage, were aware that the team might be moved at the end of the 2007-2008 season.