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A contract consists of four components: a bid, an approval, a consideration, and an intent to form a legal relationship. The first feature of an agreement is presumed to occur if there is a pledge between one or more parties with a commitment to enter into a contract based on the terms agreed by the parties in question (McKendrick, 2014). There must be specifications, and the contract must be complete and appropriate. The second element of acceptance would be deemed to exist if there is an unequivocal agreement to the terms of the offer disregarding any further negotiation (Knapp, Crystal & Prince, 2016). The third element of consideration would be deemed to exist if there is a value exchanged between the parties involved when entering into the agreement (McKendrick, 2014). The fourth element of intention to create legal relationship would be deemed to exist if all the parties are willing to bind themselves in the agreement (Knapp, Crystal & Prince, 2016).
If the elements of a contract did exist between these parties, there could still be some possible reasons why a contract might not be valid based on facts not present in the scenario. For example, if Sam was a minor at the time he made the agreement with the chain store, the contract would not be valid because the law prohibits entering into a contract with a minor. Another reason why the contract might be invalid is if at all Sam or the other parties had no mental capacity to understand all the terms of the agreement (Houh, 2014). Additionally, there would be a situation whereby it would be invalid if any of the parties did not understand the consequences of getting into the agreement. Finally, if the doctrine of privity of the contract was not observed, the contract would be deemed invalid.
B. Even if there is not a valid legal contract between Sam and the chain store, there may still be a quasi-contract or elements of what is called a promissory estoppel.
A quasi-contract can be defined as an obligation that takes place between one or more parties and imposed by law independent of agreements between the concerned parties. In this case, a quasi-contract may exist if the following facts are true:
The contract has been enforced by law (order of court) (Houh, 2014)
There is no agreement between Sam and Quinn, and between Sam and the chain store
There has been a motive or aim of one party to enrich itself or benefit in a dispute over payment of goods or services
Quinn aims at evicting Sam, despite their previous agreement
A promissory estoppel can be defined as a legal principle, demonstrating that a promise can be enforceable by law, even when it has been made with no formal consideration (Houh, 2014). This occurs mostly in circumstances where one party has made a promise to another party that relies on the promise to its detriment. This principle might apply to this case if Sam does not deliver on what he promised the chain store in regard of the 1,000 units of his device. The other case whereby this might apply is where Quinn continues with his threat to evict Sam from his house despite of him been notified beforehand that Sam would be working on a new invention. Additionally, there would be the need to enforce a promissory estoppel to protect Sam from the chain store legal action if the landlord evicts him before delivering the 1000 units.
C. The rights and obligations of both the landlord and tenant depend upon the term of their contract. Such a contract may be verbal or in writing under a standard residential lease agreement.
Both Sam and the landlord have rights as well as obligations. Some facts that may support that Sam is in breach of that contract include creating a disturbance to other tenants through the barking machine. The other fact is that Sam has failed to deliver the 1000 units of the machine that he has promised the chain store. Some facts that may support that Sam is not in breach of that contract include that he has not failed to pay rent to the landlord. The other fact is that he has given prior notice to the landlord concerning the fact that he is working on a new invention. Finally, he has not been at any one time in a position where he has caused the landlord to be in breach of law.
D. Based upon those rights and obligations, Sam’s landlord does not have grounds to evict because he was notified beforehand of Sam’s intention to work on a new invention. Another reason why there are no grounds to evict Sam is that there are no complaints from the landlord that he has failed in his duties as a tenant to submit rent as required. Finally, Sam has not communicated any intention of continuing running his business from the landlord’s premises, and thus should not be evicted.
E. Some defenses Sam might raise if his landlord tries to evict him include his notification to the landlord as he started making the barking machine after he informed the landlord. Additionally, the landlord wished him well in his project, thus showing that he had no qualms against the progress of the invention (Poole, 2016). The contract that Sam had entered with the landlord is not yet over and he has not sought the permission to vacate the property, showing that he is capable of paying his rent as per his obligations.
McKendrick, E. (2014). Contract law: text, cases, and materials. Oxford University Press (UK).
Poole, J. (2016). Textbook on contract law. Oxford University Press.
Houh, E. (2014). Sketches of a Redemptive Theory of Contract Law. Hastings LJ, 66, 951.
Knapp, C. L., Crystal, N. M., & Prince, H. G. (2016). Problems in Contract Law: cases and
materials. Wolters Kluwer Law & Business.
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