Petterson v. Pattberg

Court of Appeals of New York, 1928.

248 N.Y. 86, 161 N.E. 428.

Dawson, pp. 378-381


Facts: Petterson owned some real estate in Brooklyn that he mortgaged to Pattberg.  Pattberg offered to sell the mortgage at a discount of $780 to Petterson if he made his next quarterly payment and then paid the remainder of the mortgage by a certain date.  Petterson made the quarterly payment, then came to make the payment of the balance of the mortgage.  At that time, Pattberg told Petterson that he had already sold the mortgage.  Petterson had also signed a contract to sell the mortgage.  Petterson sued for the $780 and won at trial.  Pattberg appealed up to the Court of Appeals of New York.


Issue: At the time of payment, had the offeror assumed any conditional but binding obligation?  What act was the defendant requesting as consideration for his performance?


Rule: The offeror is the master of the offer and can revoke at any time prior to acceptance.


Analysis: The majority finds that the offer was withdrawn, and notice was given that the offer could no longer continue, before acceptance.


The minority tries hard to find a contract.  They seem to play around with using promissory estoppel here, using the word “induce” a lot.


Conclusion: The judgment is reversed and the complaint is dismissed with costs.


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