Wednesday, September 6, 2006
For those who use the Epstein-Markell-Ponoroff casebook, or another book that teaches New Headley Tobacco Warehouse Co. v. Gentry's Executor, here are two views of the Tobacco Warehouse district in Lexington, Kentucky, taken in 1931, the year before the contract at issue in the case was negotiated.
The case is a "dying offeror" staple. Gentry executed a lease of property in Lexington to New Headley for a 22-year term at $1,200 a year. Ten years into the lease, Gentry sent a letter to New Headley, saying that if New Headley built a specified improvement worth at least $25,000 on the property before 1947, he would extend the lease for 22 years from the date the improvement was built. New Headley made no effort to start work on the improvement before Gentry died in 1945. New Headley subsequently tried to accept the offer but the executor refused. The question for the court was whether Gentry's death terminated the offer. Held: Yes. Even though the offer formally gave New Headley until 1947 to accept, it was revocable at any time, and hence was revoked by Gentry's death.
The images are from the Kentuckiana Digital Library, whose site authorizes their use for classroom purposes with the provision that no commercial use is permitted.