Jordan v. Dobbins

122 Mass. 168 (1877)

Dawson, p. 377


Facts: Dobbins signed a written agreement with Jordan to back up Moore’s credit.  Dobbins died, but Jordan didn’t know.  Jordan sold to Moore on credit in reliance on Dobbins’s written agreement.  Moore failed to pay.  Jordan sued Dobbins’s estate to enforce the agreement.


Issue: Was an enforceable contract formed between Jordan and Dobbins?


Rule: The death of the offeror terminates the offer.


Analysis: The court finds that Jordan and Dobbins never entered into a contract.  Instead, Dobbins made an offer to contract with Jordan in the event that Jordan sells stuff to Moore.  If Jordan had sold stuff to Moore before Dobbins’s death, there would have been an enforceable contract.  Instead, Dobbins died, and his offer to Jordan expired with him.  So there was no offer for Jordan to accept when he sold goods to Moore.


Conclusion: Dobbins’s estate doesn’t have to pay Jordan.


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