Petterson v. Pattberg

248 N.Y. 86, 161 N.E. 428 (1928)



The offeror may see the approach of the offeree and know that an acceptance is contemplated. If the offeror can say "I revoke" before the offeree accepts, there is no escape from the conclusion that the offer is terminated.


Executrix sought performance of an agreement concerning a debt with bond owner, which provided for a reduced principal if it was paid off early. The decedent originally, paid bond owner installments of the principal. After several installment periods passed, decedent attempted to relinquish the debt in full with a lump sum payment to bond owner. Decedent went to bond owner's house and called through the door, which was closed, that he had come to pay off the mortgage but was told by the bond owner that he had sold the mortgage, after which, upon the door being opened, decedent made a tender of the cash. Litigation ensued when bond owner refused to accept the sum. The trial court awarded a judgment in favor of executrix, requiring fulfillment of the agreement. The appeal, the trial courts decision was affirmed. The case was appealed to the Court of Appeals of New York.


Could the bond owner withdraw his offer to pay debt in lump sum?




The Court held that due to the fact that the provisions of the contract were unilateral, the bond owner was rightfully able to withdraw the offer before decedent's act was completed. As a result, plaintiff was required to pay the loan without interest forbearance.

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