Hendricks v. Behee – Case Brief
Hendricks v. Behee, 786 S.W.2d 610 (Mo.App. S.D. 1990).
Parties: Plaintiff – Hendricks; D1 – Behee; D2 – Smith
Facts: Behee placed $5,000 in escrow with Hendricks as a deposit on real estate owned by Smith. A disagreement arose between the parties and eventually Behee mailed a written offer of $42,500 for the real estate and $250 for a dinner bell and flower pots. Smith signed the agreement but Behee notified an agent of Smith that he had withdrawn the offer before he received notice of the acceptance.
Hendricks brought an interpleader action against Behee and Smith and Behee filed a cross claim against Smith. The court awarded $997.50 to Hendricks and the balance to Behee. Smith appealed.
Issue: Is an uncommunicated intention to accept an offer an acceptance?
Holding and Rule: No. A contract is not formed until acceptance has been communicated to the offeror. An uncommunicated intention to accept an offer is not an acceptance. Notice of acceptance is required where an offer calls for a promise from the offeree. Communication of acceptance to an agent of the offeree is not sufficient and is not a valid acceptance. An offeror may withdraw his offer at any time before acceptance and communication of that fact to him unless the offer is supported by consideration. To revoke an offer revocation must be communicated to the offeree before the offeree has accepted. Notice given to an agent within the scope of the agent’s authority is notice to the principal.
In this case Behee withdrew the offer before Smith communicated his acceptance. Notice to Smith’s agent was sufficient to withdraw the offer.