Tuesday, September 12, 2023
I have been using Brian Blum's Examples and Explanations book as a supplement to my first-year contracts course for years. This week, we are covering offers. Professor Blum (right) provides Example 13 of chapter 4, which involves the acceptance of an offer to enter into a unilateral contract by hitting a hole-in-one at a charity golf tournament. Professor Blum's hypo is based on a case out of Utah, and he cites another case out of South Dakota.
But they just keep coming. As Teny Sahakian reports for Fox News, Linda Chen hit a hole-in-one at a charity golf tournament in Florida. She claimed entitlement to a new Mercedes Benz, valued at $90,000. The tournament organizers denied her the prize on the ground that the offer was only made available to amateurs, and Ms. Chen had been a professional golfer from 1994-96. She claims that she is now "officially registered" as an amateur. Gosh. I'm not registered. What does that make me?
According to her complaint, as reported on Fox News, Ms. Chen claims that "By showing up, entering the Fins on the Fairway golf tournament, her host paying the entry fees, and hitting a hole in one," Chen "accepted the Defendants’ offer, formed a contract, paid consideration, and fulfilled her obligations under the contract." The tournament organizers claim that only amateurs were qualified to claim the prize. And no, this is not a Lefkowitz situation, because the limitation to amateurs was not some unspoken "house rule"; it was a stipulation of the tournament rules, a copy of which Ms. Chen signed.
But is someone who has not been a professional golfer since 1996 a professional for the purposes of the contest? Did Ms. Chen have duty to disclose her status as a former professional. The tournament organizers insist that other professionals had registered in the tournament as such. If Ms. Chen had only done that, they say . . . Well, if she had only done that, what exactly? Are they suggesting that they would have told her, imitating a Seinfeld character, "No Mercedes for you!"? In any case, we can now layer interpretive issues on top of the unilateral contract issues to make one lovely fact pattern! I hope you are paying attention, Professor Blum.
Thanks to OCU 1L Hunter Lovell (left) for sharing the story with me.