Lucy V. Zehmer Summary

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Lucy v. Zehmer Case Brief
Lucy v. Zehmer
196 Va. 493, 84 S.E.2d 516 (1954)
Supreme Court of Appeals of Virginia
Plaintiff W.O. Lucy offered $50,000 in cash to buy the Defendants’ farm. Defendant A.H. Zehmer didn´t take the offer serious and thought the Plaintiff is joking about the offer. Therefore he executed a memorandum for his and his wife’s signature to purchase the farm they both own to Plaintiff W.O. Lucy for a total amount of $50,000. At the time the memorandum was executed the Defendant had drunk several drinks. Plaintiff picked up the memorandum and a deposit of $5 was offered as a deposit. Defendant refused the money and explained that the offer was a joke for him, but he left the writing with the Plaintiff and
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Lucy took the contract serious and therefore Zehmer must keep the specific performance of the contract. The Defendant had had a few drinks whilst executing the memorandum. Plaintiff took the memorandum and offered a $5 deposit to the Defendant which was refused by him. He didn´t ask the Plaintiff to give the writing back, even though he explained that his offer wasn´t serious. Plaintiff insisted that he had bought the land. The following day a one-half interest in the farm was transferred to his brother, W.O. Lucy, and he arranged to have the title inspected. Plaintiff sued for specific performance as the defendants refused to hand over the farm´s title. The trial court held that Plaintiffs had no right to a specific performance of the memorandum. The Supreme Court of Virginia reversed and specific performance was therefore ordered. A mental agreement to the contract is not necessary. Undisclosed intentions are immaterial and do not render the contract unenforceable, if the words or actions of both parties have the reasonable meaning of a honest business transaction. A contract must include a good faith offer and a good faith acceptance with terms of consideration known by each party. When the words and actions of a person are judged under a reasonable standard, demonstrate an intent to agree to a contract, his/her unexpressed subjective state of mind is

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