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Law School Case Brief

Johnson v. Capital City Ford Co. - 85 So. 2d 75 (La. Ct. App. 1955)

Rule:

In Louisiana and elsewhere a newspaper advertisement may constitute an offer, acceptance of which will consummate a contract and create an obligation in the offeror to perform according to terms of the published offer.

Facts:

The advertisement said that purchasers of a current model year car could have traded even for a new one when the new model year opened. Leland Johnson purchased a vehicle, but Capital City Ford Company (Capital) refused to accept the even trade deal on the next year's car. Capital contended on appeal that the advertisement was merely an invitation to bargain. Johnson requested that he be permitted to trade for a car from a third model year that had begun during the litigation.

Issue:

Did the newspaper advertisement in question constitute an "offer" rather than merely an invitation to bargain?

Answer:

Yes

Conclusion:

The court determined that the advertisement was itself an "offer;" the wording to a newspaper reader would indicate a bona fide bargain offer in that it was certain and definite enough to constitute a legal offer. The situation constituted a unilateral contract, or an obligation created by an offer accepted by an act, and that Johnson’s purchase in compliance with terms of the offer constituted his acceptance. The court determined that while it could not have amended the judgment as requested by Johnson, Johnson had alternatively requested a judgment for damages, and the answer to the appeal was timely filed and did indicate that Johnson was entitled to further relief than allowed by the original decree. Thus, the court affirmed.

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