Kibler v. Frank L. Garrett & Sons, Inc. – Case Brief
Kibler v. Frank L. Garrett & Sons, Inc., 73 Wash.2d 523, 439 P.2d 416 (1968).
Facts: Kibler (P) and Garrett (D) agreed that Kibler would receive a minimum of 18 cents for each bushel of wheat he harvested for Garrett. Kibler provided Garrett with the wheat and charged him 20 cents per bushel for a total of $876.20. Garrett sent Kibler a check for $444 with fine print stating that the check was for payment in full. P cashed the check without seeing the fine print or realizing that the check was for payment in full. P sued D for breach of contract and D alleged that P’s cashing of the check represented an accord and satisfaction. The trial court dismissed the action and P appealed.
Issue: 1) What are the necessary requirements to reach an accord and satisfaction? 2) Is a notation on a check in fine print sufficient to create an accord and satisfaction?
Holding and Rule: 1) An accord and satisfaction will be found only when there has been a meeting of the minds between the parties. 2) No.
For an accord and satisfaction to be valid there must be a good-faith dispute. Before a debt may be extinguished through an accord and satisfaction, there must be a good-faith dispute of the amount owed and the creditor must specifically agree to accept a lesser amount in full satisfaction of the debt. A creditor may not be tricked into accepting a lesser amount. The debtor has the burden of proof to show that there was a meeting of the minds. The court held that the notation on the back of the check was not sufficient evidence that P had read it and accepted its terms.
Notes: An accord and satisfaction is a contractual agreement and to be valid there must be a meeting of the minds and valuable consideration.