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La. Civ. Code Ann. art. 1800 states: The contract, consisting of a proposition and the consent to it, the agreement is incomplete until the acceptance of the person to whom it is proposed. If he, who proposes, should before that consent is given, change his intention on the subject, the concurrence of the two wills is wanting, and there is no contract.
Plaintiff-vendor, John Kent Chauvin, and defendant-vendee, C. Robert Bohn, and his wife, agreed on a purchase price for the sale of a home. The vendee wrote a personal check for $ 4,000, which the vendor accepted as a down payment. The vendee later informed the vendor that the vendee no longer wished to go through with the sale. After the vendor deposited the check, the vendee stopped payment on it. The vendor filed suit to recover liquidated damages, alleging that the deposit constituted earnest money pursuant to a valid contract to sell. The trial court found in favor of the vendor, and the appeals court affirmed. The vendee appealed.
Under the circumstances, was there a valid contract to sell, the breach of which would entitle the vendor to recover liquidated damages?
The court held that the mere endorsement and deposit of the check fell short of an "acceptance" of the offer to buy. Nothing in the words on the instrument denoted consent to a sale of the property on certain terms. The vendee's notation on the back of the check showing that the sum of $ 4,000 was subtracted from the total price was insufficient to satisfy the requirements of La. Civ. Code Ann. arts. 2275 and 2462 that contracts regarding the transfers of immovables be in writing. The court could not look to extrinsic evidence, and the words on the check did not constitute a valid contract to sell.