White v. Corlies

46 N.Y. 467 (1871)



A mental determination not indicated by speech or by act to the other party is not an acceptance which will bind the other. Nor does an act, which in itself is no indication of an acceptance, become such merely because it is accompanied by an unevinced mental determination. Where the act uninterpreted by concurrent evidence of the mental purpose accompanying it, is as well referable to one state of facts as another, it is no indication to the other party of an acceptance, and does not operate to hold him to his offer.


Defendant sent an offer for carpentry work to plaintiff, and plaintiff purchased the necessary materials and started working on them, but did not communicate his acceptance to defendant. Defendant withdrew his offer the next day, and plaintiff brought suit. A judgment was issued in favor of the plaintiff. The case was appealed.


Should an acceptance of an offer be manifested to the offeror?




The court held that while there can be an acceptance without the offeror being aware of it, the acceptance must be manifested by an appropriate act, and plaintiffs purchase of the materials and working on them, even if he had mentally accepted the offer, were not such as to manifest acceptance to defendant. Thus, the case was remanded for a new trial because the evidence did not show plaintiff effectively accepted the defendant's offer for a contract.

Click here to view the full text case and earn your Daily Research Points.