Thank You For Submiting Feedback!
Courts determine whether the parties expressed their assent to a contract by analyzing their agreement process in terms of offer and acceptance. An offer is the manifestation of willingness to enter into a bargain, so made as to justify another person in understanding that his assent to that bargain is invited and will conclude it.
Irwin Schiff, a tax rebel, made an offer on a late night television program to pay a reward of $ 100,000 to anyone who called the show and cited any section of the Internal Revenue Code that provided an individual was required to file a tax return. The next morning, John A. Newman, an attorney practicing law in St. Louis, Missouri, saw a rebroadcast and responded. When Schiff failed to pay the reward, Newman sued for breach of contract. The district court ruled in favor of Schiff, finding that the rebroadcast did not renew the Schiff’s offer and, thus, Newman’s acceptance was untimely. Further, even if Schiff ratified the rebroadcast of his original offer, Newman’s failure to accept during the rebroadcast meant his acceptance was untimely.
Did Newman accept Schiff's initial and only offer that had been made on the Nightwatch program?
The court affirmed on the grounds that Newman did not accept the initial and only offer made on the late night program. The court determined that the rebroadcast did not renew Schiff’s offer, but rather informed viewers that Schiff had made the offer. Thus, the court concluded that the rebroadcast was a news report and not a renewal of the original offer and that it was not reasonable for Newman to construe the news report as a new offer.