9–4. Types of Contracts Burger Baby restaurants engaged Air Advertising to fly an advertisement above the Connecticut beaches. The advertisement offered $1,000 to any person who could swim from the Connecticut beaches to Long Island in less than a day. At 10:00 A.M. on October 10, Air Advertising’s pilot flew a sign above the Connecticut beaches that read: “Swim across the Sound and Burger Baby pays $1,000.” On seeing the sign, Davison dived in. About four hours later, when he was about halfway across the Sound, Air Advertising fl ew another sign over the Sound that read: “Burger Baby revokes.” Davison completed the swim in another six hours. Is there a contract between Davison and Burger Baby? Can Davison recover anything? Why or why not?
9–5. Acceptance Evelyn Kowalchuk, an eighty-eight-year old widow, and her son, Peter, put their savings into accounts managed by Matthew Stroup. Later, they initiated an arbitration proceeding before the National Association of Securities Dealers (NASD), asserting that Stroup fraudulently or negligently handled their accounts. They asked for an award of $832,000. After the hearing, but before a decision was rendered, Stroup offered to pay the Kowalchuks $285,000, and they e-mailed their acceptance. Stroup signed a settlement agreement and faxed it to the Kowalchuks for their signatures. Meanwhile, the NASD issued an award in the Kowalchuks’ favor for $88,788. Stroup immediately told them that he was withdrawing his settlement “offer.”
When Stroup did not pay according to its terms, the Kowalchuks fi led a suit in a New York state court against him for breach of contract. Did these parties have a contract? Why or why not? [Kowalchuk v. Stroup, 873 N.Y.S.2d 43 (N.Y.A.D. 1 Dept. 2009)]
10–9. A QUESTION OF ETHICS: Remedies.
In 2004, Tamara Cohen, a real estate broker, began showing property in Manhattan to Steven Galistinos, who represented comedian Jerry Seinfeld and his wife, Jessica. According to Cohen, she told Galistinos that her commission would be 5 or 6 percent, and he agreed. According to Galistinos, there was no such agreement. Cohen spoke with Maximillan Sanchez, another broker, about a townhouse owned by Ray and Harriet Mayeri. According to Cohen, Sanchez said that the commission would be 6 percent, which they agreed to split equally. Sanchez later acknowledged that they had agreed to split the fee, but claimed that they had not discussed a specific amount. On a Friday in February 2005, Cohen showed the townhouse to Jessica. According to Cohen, she told Jessica that the commission would be 6 percent, with the Seinfelds paying half, and Jessica agreed. According to Jessica, there was no such conversation. Later that day Galistinos asked Cohen to arrange for the Seinfelds to see the premises again. Cohen told Galistinos that her religious beliefs prevented her from showing property on Friday evenings or Saturdays before sundown. She suggested the following Monday or Tuesday, but Galistinos said that Jerry would not be available and asked her to contact Carolyn Liebling, Jerry’s business manager. Cohen left Liebling a message. Over the weekend, the Seinfelds toured the building on their own and agreed to buy the property for $3.95 million. Despite repeated attempts, they were unable to contact Cohen. [Cohen v. Seinfeld, 15 Misc.3d 1118(A), 839 N.Y.S.2d 432 (Sup. 2007)]
(a) The contract between the Seinfelds and the Mayeris stated that the sellers would pay Sanchez’s fee and the “buyers will pay buyer’s real estate broker’s fees.” The Mayeris paid Sanchez $118,500, which is 3 percent of $3.95 million. The Seinfelds refused to pay Cohen. She fi led a suit in a New York state court against them, asserting, among other things, breach of contract. Should the court order the Seinfelds to pay Cohen? If so, is she entitled to a full commission even though she was not available to show the townhouse when the Seinfelds wanted to see it? Explain
(b) What obligation do parties involved in business deals owe to each other with respect to their religious beliefs? How might the situation in this case have been avoided?