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An assent must, in order to constitute a valid contract, be mutual, and intended to bind both sides. It must also coexist at the same moment of time. A mere proposal by one man obviously constitutes no bargain of itself. It must be accepted by another, and this acceptance must be unconditional. If a condition be affixed by a party to whom an offer is made, or any modification or change in the offer be requested, this constitutes in law a rejection of the offer, clearly ineffectual to complete the contract until assented to by the first proposer. Where negotiations are entered into for the sale of goods, there must be an unconditional acceptance of the offer, or no contract is consummated.
Defendant purchaser allegedly agreed to buy eggs from the plaintiff seller at a certain price. When the plaintiff seller was ready to deliver, the defendant purchaser refused to accept the eggs. The seller was forced to sell the eggs to another at a lower price. The seller filed a breach of contract action, and the trial court found in favor of the purchaser. The seller appealed.
Under the circumstances, was a valid contract formed between the defendant and the plaintiff?
The court affirmed the judgment of the trial court. Because the purchaser's offer to buy left several issues, including the quantity of eggs to be bought, to be determined, the seller's telegram offering to sell a certain number of eggs at the offered price did not create a contract.