Brackenbury v. Hodgkin – Case Brief
Brackenbury v. Hodgkin, 116 Me. 399, 102 A. 106 (Me. 1917).
Facts: Widow Sarah Hodgkin (D) wrote to her daughter and son-in-law (“Brackenbury”, (P)) and asked them to move from Missouri to Maine to care for her for the rest of her life. In exchange Mr. and Mrs. Brackenbury were given the use of the farm and household goods and were to receive the property upon Hodgkin’s death. Ps moved to Maine and lived on the farm and cared for D until an argument ensued several weeks later. D asked P to depart and executed and delivered the deed to the property to her son Walter. P sued for a reconveyance of the property. D appealed the trial court’s judgment for P.
Issue: What are the legal consequences of an offeree beginning performance of a unilateral contract?
Holding and Rule: Beginning performance of a unilateral contract creates an option contract that renders the offer irrevocable until the offeree has had a reasonable time to complete performance.
An option contract is created when the offeree begins the invited performance under a unilateral offer. In this case D’s offer was in writing and there was no dispute regarding its terms. D’s offer was unilateral and P’s act of moving and beginning to care for D was substantial part performance.
Disposition: Affirmed; Judgment for P.