Law School Case Brief
Kendel v. Pontious - 261 So. 2d 167 (Fla. 1972)
Where the offeror, instead of offering to do something if the other party will perform, thus leaving the latter free to perform or not as he pleases, requires a reciprocal promise from the offeree, the latter must communicate his acceptance of the offer and thereby bind himself by an engagement from which he cannot recede or there will be no agreement; even a compliance with the terms of the offer will not suffice. Communication of acceptance in such a case is not only necessary to bind the offeror, but also to bind the offeree, and the offeror cannot, by a stipulation to that effect in the offer, make silence on the offeree's part an acceptance.
Plaintiff sellers commenced a suit for specific performance against defendant purchaser. Defendant purchaser executed a deposit receipt and defendant broker mailed the receipt to the attorney for plaintiff sellers. The contract was signed by plaintiffs and delivered to the office of their attorney. However, prior to notice of the execution of the contract by plaintiffs being communicated to defendant purchaser, defendant purchaser revoked the offer to purchase by a letter to plaintiffs. The trial court entered judgment for defendants and plaintiffs sought review.
Does a purchaser effectively revoke an offer to purchase by mailing a letter to the seller prior to obtaining any confirmation of acceptance on the part of the latter?
The court affirmed the judgment for defendants and held that plaintiffs were required to set in motion some means by which knowledge of their acceptance of the purchaser's offer would come to the purchaser before any enforceable contract could arise. The trial court and the appellate court correctly held that the offeror could revoke the offer provided the communication of such revocation was received prior to the acceptance. The trial court and the appellate court correctly held that defendant could revoke the offer to purchase because plaintiffs had not communicated their acceptance of the offer prior to such revocation.
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