You have learned that a legally valid and enforceable contract requires an offer, acceptance, and consideration. When you think of a contract you most likely think about a bilateral contract, i.e., buying a car, or other “high ticket” items or services … but contracts are everywhere. You may not realize it but you enter into a unilateral contract every day. Snapchat can be a prime example; using Snapchat and agreeing to its user agreement means you have accepted its terms. The key element in unilateral contracts is performance. Simply sending a snap binds you to Snapchat’s terms. Bilateral contracts are more often than not used in business transactions where a bargain happens. Sales of goods are governed by the UCC.
The main two types of contracts are:
A unilateral contract: A contract in which the promisee (one who fulfills the promise) performs to fulfill thecontract. The performance will constitute as an acceptance and consideration. An example would be if I say, “I will give you a $100 to walk across the Brooklyn Bridge.” You walking across the bridge would be acceptance and consideration. The promisor’s (one who makes the promise) terms are static.
A bilateral contract: A bilateral contract is a contract in which there is a mutual exchange of promises between parties. An example would be “If you promise to walk my dog tomorrow, I promise to bake you a cake.” The consideration in this example would be the mutual exchange of dog walking and the cake. Acceptance would be oral/written.
After briefly reading about unilateral agreement, think about this effect in the larger scope. In the case of Upton’s million dollar home run, Sherwin Williams refused to donate $1 million to the Angels’ charity over a technicality in the contract. In short, the home run ball had to land in the can on the fly, not bounce in.
Currently, there is no decision as to what Sherwin Williams will do. Think about whether the Sherwin Williams “promise” is indeed a unilateral contract and whether they are in breach since they refused to perform. In order for the contract to be enforced, presuming it is valid, who should accept it? Upton or the Angels? Is there a difference? Do you think that the “charity” aspect changes the type of contract it is?
Identify and discuss at least two of the issues raised by the above narrative. You will then engage your classmates in the discussion that follows.
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