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Bretz v. Portland General Electric Co.

United States Court of Appeals, Ninth Circuit
882 F.2d 411 (1989)


Facts

In summer 1983, Bretz (plaintiff) contact Portland General Electric Co. (PGE) (defendant) and Beartooth to offer to purchase Beartooth stock for $2 million. PGE responded on August 5, 1983 by sending Bretz a revised version of his offer with a request that Bretz revise his terms and resubmit the letter for consideration by PGE officers. Bretz revised his letter and resubmitted his offer on August 10th. PGE responded with a letter on August 23rd, saying that it would not accept Bretz’s offer for $2 million. PGE stated it would be receptive to an offer to purchase Beartooth stock for $2.75 million, and requested that Bretz resubmit his offer based on these terms. On August 30th, Bretz sent a new letter to PGE saying he would buy the Beartooth stock for $2.75 million. That same day, Bretz contracted with a third party to sell Beartooth coal. On September 7th, after learning of Bretz’s contract with the third party, a Beartooth official requested Bretz contact him immediately. Bretz alleges that PGE then breached its contract for the sale of Beartooth. Bretz brought suit for breach of contract against Beartooth in federal district court. The district court held that no contract existed and granted PGE’s motion for summary judgment. Bretz appealed, arguing that PGE’s August 23rd letter constituted a counter-offer which he accepted, forming an enforceable contract.

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Issue

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Holding and Reasoning (Kozinski, J.)

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Dissent (Boochever, J.)

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