Lefkowitz v. Great Minneapolis Surplus Store, Inc. 86 N.W.2d 689 (Minn. 1957). Facts The case Lefkowitz versus the Great Minneapolis Surplus store addresses the common misconception of offers and contracts that can appear in advertising. Lefkowitz, the plaintiff, noticed an advertisement in a local store that offered the sale of fur coats that were valued at one hundred dollars. The discounted price, which was a dollar, was stated in the advertisement along with the statement of first come first serve. The advertisement was located in eth newspaper on April 6, 1956. About a week later, the Great Minneapolis Surplus Store advertised the same deal again in the same newspaper, but with the sale of pastel scarves along with a mink stole. The plaintiff Lefkowitz did as the advertisement instructed on both occasions and was the first individual that could have been served and received the discounted items for a dollar. During both occasions, the defendant refused to honor the advertisements that were located in the paper and thus refused to sell the offered merchandise to the plaintiff. During trial, the defendant chose to stand firmly on the case of Craft vs. Elder and Johnston Company as well as Johnson vs. Capital City Ford. Johnson vs. Capital City Ford addresses the advertisements relating to the purchase and sale of automobiles in which acceptance of a proposed offer may in fact constitute a contract which can be legally enforced. This case, just as in Lefkowitz vs. the Great Minneapolis Surplus Store questions the formalities of offers that can be contained in advertisements. Clear advertisements that leave no room for negotiation thereby allowing the formulation of a contract that comes in effect once accepted. It was stated during the case that the origin of an advertisement must be determined in order to conclude whether it can be classified as a simple invitation or an offer. At the trial of Lefkowitz vs. The Great Minneapolis Surplus Store, it was ultimately determined that due to characteristics of the advertisements the plaintiff was entitled to the fulfillment of the offer. The advertisement from the surplus store was clear and explicit all while leaving nothing open for negotiation. The court in conclusion held that Lefkowitz was entitled to the performance mentioned by the defendant because he served in full compliance with the terms of the advertisement as well as offering the purchase price stated. Damages were awarded to the plaintiff that were equal to the value stated in the advertisement. Issue The issue of the case lies in whether or not the advertisement published by the Great Minneapolis Surplus Store issued and denied an advertisement or an offer. Offers can be held under contractual obligations which would require one who issued and dishonor the promise to be held legally liable. The issue of the case also causes for the defendant to prove that the advertisement held some type of negotiable factors that would allow it to not be considered a contract. In summation the issue of the case lies in the various circumstances that constitutes an advertisement as an offer. Decision Ruling for the appeal was affirmed on the basis of the offer leaving no room for negotiation as it was clear, explicit and definite. The court decided that a newspaper advertisement could be considered an offer due to certain circumstances especially when the actions needed in order for a consumer to accept the offer are clear. Section II The ruling of affirmed in the case of Lefkowitz vs. The Great Minneapolis Surplus Store was accurate in that it expressed the formalities of a contract, the true nature of an advertisement the characteristics of an invitation. The formalities of a contract consist of a multitude of entities that enable such an agreement to be legally enforceable in court. Contracts must be formed by two parties or more allowing for a promise to be enacted and fulfilled (Halbert & Ingulli, 2012). If a contractual promise is not fulfilled by the individual that made the promise, the party can therefore be subject to sanctions of a court (Miller & Jentz, 2010). In attempting to determine in the case of Lefkowitz vs. The Great Minneapolis Surplus Store, whether or not a contract has been formed, one must determine the element of intent of the contract. This results in concluding that the contract was judged by facts which were considered objective as interpreted by a person considered reasonable. The offer made by the Great Minneapolis Surplus Store contains all the requirements necessary for a valid contract which are agreement, consideration, contractual capacity and legality. The advertisements made in the case both contained agreements that held offers and acceptance. The offers made on both occasions contained goods that were offered at a discount rate and accepted by the plaintiff. Consideration, which is also a key component of a contract, was contained in the advertisement. Fur coats along with a mink stole and mink scarves were promised to convince the consumer (plaintiff Lefkowitz) to make a deal. Next, in discussing formalities of contracts, one must address contractual capacity. This simply addresses the competence of both parties which was apparent between the plaintiff and defendant in question. Finally, a contract must have the goal of accomplishing something legal. The advertisements made by the Great Minneapolis Surplus Store was not formed with legal intention however they do fall under the contractual category of adhesion. Adhesion contracts are written by one party, which is usually a seller and presented to another adhering party, the consumer, on a non-negotiable basis. This is what enabled the defendant to be held liable for not honoring the contract. Secondly, the ruling of affirmed in the case of Lefkowitz vs. The Great Minneapolis Surplus Store was accurate due to it revealing the true nature of an advertisement. Advertisements are generally meant for the public and structured as an invitation to accept an offer and not the offer itself (Miller & Jentz, 2010). This is due to the lack of legal implications and intentions that advertisements usually contain. A noted exception to this is when advertisements have the potential to be construed as offers which occurs where definite terms are presented that invited acceptance, for example, an advertisement offering a reward for a lost pet if found (Cornel University Law School: Legal Information Institute, 1992). The advertisement made by the Great Minneapolis Surplus Store contained definite terms such as the price and arrival time in order for a consumer to be able to participate in the sale. Price lists, which are also considered as a form of advertising, are used by companies to negotiate trade. Price lists are often taken as advertisements due to the list not being the final offer for sale of the product but more so an invitation to proposed buyers. These lists usually contain a clause at the bottom that states, “prices are subject to change” due to the many discretions of the seller. Neither of the advertisements distributed by the Surplus Store held such jargon as to insinuate negotiable factors of the advertisement’s thus resulting in the store being held liable. Finally, The ruling of affirmed in the case of Lefkowitz vs. The Great Minneapolis Surplus Store was accurate in that it expressed the characteristics of an invitation. Characteristics of an invitation and that of the advertisement from the surplus store were compared in an effort to categorize the Surplus store’s selling methods (Miller & Jentz, 2010). Invitations in advertisements are usually imitated to the buyer in an effort to propose a deal (Blum, 2007). Contracts are initially “the deal” thus preventing the need to invite a buyer based on specific terms. An advertisement can and will be considered an offer when it promises something in an obvious exchange for a clear, definite action which ultimately leaves nothing open for negotiation. Otherwise, an advertisement is simply an invitation made for a proposed offer. The case Lefkowitz versus the Great Minneapolis Surplus store addresses the common misconception of offers and contracts that can appear in advertising. Lefkowitz, the plaintiff, noticed an advertisement in a local store that offered the sale of fur coats that were valued at one hundred dollars. The discounted price, which was a dollar, was stated in the advertisement along with the statement of first come first serve. The advertisement was located in eth newspaper on April 6, 1956. About a week later, the Great Minneapolis Surplus Store advertised the same deal again in the same newspaper, but with the sale of pastel scarves along with a mink stole. The plaintiff Lefkowitz did as the advertisement instructed on both occasions and was the first individual that could have been served and received the discounted items for a dollar. During both occasions, the defendant refused to honor the advertisements that were located in the paper and thus refused to sell the offered merchandise to the plaintiff. Ruling for the case was fair in that the advertisements presented by the company were structured as contract. References Blum, B. A. (2007). Contracts: Examples & explanations. New York: Aspen Publishers. Cornel University Law School: Legal Information Institute. (1992). Definition for purposes of section 5 of the Act, of “sale”, “offer”, “offer to sell”, and “offer for sale”. 17 CFR 230.133. Retrieved from https://www.law.cornell.edu/cfr/text/17/230.133 on 4/5/2014 Halbert, T., & Ingulli, E. (2012). Law & ethics in the business environment (7th ed.). Mason, OH: South-Western Cengage Learning. Miller, R., Jentz, G. (2010). Fundamentals of Business Law. Summarized Cases. 8th Ed. Mason: Cengage Learning.
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