Cobaugh v. Klick-Lewis, Inc.

Superior Court of Pennsylvania, 1989.

385 Pa.Super. 587, 561 A.2d 1248.

Dawson, pp. 363-367


Facts: Cobaugh was playing golf.  He got to a hole and saw a sign that said if he hit a hole-in-one he would win a new car.  He did hit a hole-in-one and tried to claim his prize.  Klick-Lewis, the car dealer, said that the contest only applied to a charity golf tournament that happened two days before.  Cobaugh sued and the trial court granted him summary judgment.  Klick-Lewis appealed.


Issue: Did Cobaugh hitting a hole-in-one constitute an acceptance of a valid offer by Klick-Lewis and thus an enforceable promise?


Rule: Making the rules of a contest public constitutes an offer that the contest promoter is bound to perform if someone acts upon the offer.


Analysis: The court says that the contest was not a proposal of a gift.  Because the prize required some performance, the contest was an offer.


The court also says that the agreement is not unenforceable on the basis of lack of consideration.  The consideration that the dealership received in return for its offer was publicity, and the golfer got a car in exchange for earning a hole-in-one.


Finally, the court says that the agreement is not void due to mutual mistake, because the mistake was actually only unilateral on the part of the promisor.


In a footnote, the majority argues against the position of the dissent which says that the contract should be invalidated as illegal because it constitutes gambling.


Conclusion: The decision of the trial court in granting summary judgment to the plaintiff is affirmed.


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