ContractsProf Blog

Editor: Myanna Dellinger
University of South Dakota School of Law

Friday, November 16, 2012

Seinfeldian Unilateral Contract?

I often am surprised by how many of my current students bring me clips from Seinfeld. Having aired from 1989-1998, the show started when most of my 20-something students were toddlers or, gasp, not even born. I suppose we have syndication to thank for that. This latest clip (embedding disabled) involves a possible unilateral K.

Elaine, the offeror, offers to exchange her bike for a particular type of performance (her own neck-fixing). Kramer potentially accepts via his prompt neck-fixing efforts, which Elaine initially appreciates.  Kramer would argue that Elaine's statement was an offer due to the “first person who” language (see Lefkowitz) and the specific requirements Elaine set forth.  Elaine could argue (among other things) that there was no offer due to the lack of specificity she used in her so-called offer or the jesting nature of it. Elaine's best argument may be that Kramer did not provide a substantively valid acceptance because he only fixed her neck temporarily—and that was not the performance for which she was bargaining.  Kramer then could argue that, via his part performance, he at least has bought himself some time to finish.  And so on and so on.  

Elaine and Kramer later decided to let their friend Newman resolve their issues through his own type of binding arbitration.  


I can't say that I agree with "Judge Newman" on this one.  However, I can say that I enjoyed watching it.

[Heidi R. Anderson, h/t to student Phillip Kuye]

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