Contract Law 23 II Lefkowitz v Great MN Surplus Store (ambiguous offer) | Summary and Q&A

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July 24, 2017
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Contract Law 23 II Lefkowitz v Great MN Surplus Store (ambiguous offer)

TL;DR

A court case explores whether advertisements constitute offers and how they form binding contracts.

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Questions & Answers

Q: Did Morris Lefkowitz have a valid argument for claiming that the advertisements constituted offers?

Yes, Morris Lefkowitz argued that the advertisements were offers which he accepted by showing up at the store ready to pay, and the court agreed that clear and explicit advertisements can be considered offers.

Q: What is the significance of the court's ruling regarding indefinite contracts?

The court's reluctance to enforce indefinite contracts, as seen in this case, aims to encourage parties to draft more carefully and avoid ambiguities. However, it may lead businesses to make advertisements indefinite to protect themselves from legal enforcement.

Q: What was the court's stance on the house rule of the surplus store?

The court ruled that the store couldn't impose a new condition, such as gender restriction, after the offer was accepted, as it was not a part of the original advertisement.

Q: Is gender discrimination in contracting legal?

In most states, gender discrimination in contracting is legal, except in California and a few other states. California's Unruh Civil Rights Act bans gender discrimination in contracting, along with discrimination based on other characteristics.

Summary & Key Takeaways

  • In 1957, a Minnesota court case involved the great Minneapolis surplus store refusing to sell fur coats and a stole to a customer who arrived promptly for advertised deals.

  • The court had to determine if the advertisements were offers or mere solicitations, ultimately ruling that clear, definite, and explicit ads can be considered offers.

  • The court found that the second advertisement for the stole met the requirements, resulting in the plaintiff receiving expectation damages.

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