When John Holley (defendant) and Joan Holley (plaintiff) divorced, they agreed that John would pay Joan $1,000 a month in alimony. Later John declared bankruptcy, and John and Joan entered a settlement under which John would pay Joan $10,000, plus interest, within five years. The settlement provided that, if John had not paid in full by June 1993, the original alimony obligations would control. John made monthly payments but did not remember the June 1993 deadline. After the deadline, John asked Joan for the current balance. Joan said that she would send it, but that the balance was only right if John had met the deadline. Joan also included late charges for some payments that John disputed. Nevertheless, John sent Joan a check for $750, stating on the memorandum line, “Paid in Full plus int. & late ch.” Joan crossed out the note and deposited the check. Joan later asked John for more money, and John refused. But Joan said John had missed the bankruptcy-settlement payment deadline, and she had not accepted his check in satisfaction of the debt. Joan then sued John, seeking the roughly $336,000 John would have owed under the original alimony agreement. The magistrate and the district court ruled in favor of Joan. John appealed.