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Law School Case Brief

Price v. Okla. Coll. of Osteopathic Med. & Surgery - 1986 OK CIV APP 25, 733 P.2d 1357

Rule:

Okla. Stat. tit. 15, § 71 (1981) reads: An acceptance must be absolute and unqualified, or must include in itself an acceptance of that character, which the proposer can separate from the rest, and which will include the person accepting. A qualified acceptance is a new proposal.

Facts:

Plaintiff professor filed an action for a judicial declaration that he entered into a valid contract shortly before he was dismissed from his tenured faculty position at defendant medical school. Plaintiff signed an employment contract and added a protest note that was taken by the defendant as non-acceptance of the contract and terminated his employment. The trial court dismissed the action and defendant appealed, alleging the “signed under protest” note was just a grievance notice and should be taken as non-acceptance of contract.

Issue:

Does the employee’s signature in an employment contract constitute acceptance even if it was “signed under protest”?

Answer:

Yes.

Conclusion:

The court agreed with the professor's contention, finding that the professor had accepted the contract by signing where it was indicated he was to sign to accept the contract. The court also found that the note added below the acceptance was a precative protest, not substantially unlike those the professor had written on the acceptance letter in prior years. The court concluded that the notation amounted to no more than saying I don't like your offer, I don't think it's right or fair, but I accept it.

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