Quimbee logo
DMCA.com Protection Status
From our private database of 17,600+ case briefs...

Houston Dairy, Inc. v. John Hancock Mutual Life Insurance Co.

United States Court of Appeals, Fifth Circuit
643 F.2d 1185 (1981)


Houston Dairy, Inc. (Houston Dairy) (plaintiff) applied for a loan from John Hancock Mutual Life Insurance Co. (John Hancock) (defendant). On December 30, 1977, John Hancock agreed to lend Houston Dairy $800,000 at 9.25 percent interest if Houston Dairy would return a commitment letter with a $16,000 good faith deposit within seven days. Houston Dairy did not return the letter and deposit within seven days, but rather sent its acceptance and the $16,000 after eighteen days. Upon receiving the communication from Houston Dairy, John Hancock deposited the check. Additionally, attorneys for Houston Dairy and John Hancock met to discuss procedures for closing the loan. No other communication was exchanged between John Hancock and Houston Dairy. On January 30, 1978, Houston Dairy was able to obtain a loan at a 9.0 percent interest rate from a state bank. On January 31st, Houston Dairy informed John Hancock of this fact and sought a refund of its $16,000 deposit. Houston Dairy argued that since it did not accept John Hancock’s original offer within the required seven day time period, its acceptance after eighteen days was actually a counteroffer. Houston Dairy argued that since it never received communication of John Hancock’s acceptance of the counteroffer, the counteroffer was never actually accepted and Houston Dairy was entitled to a return of its deposit. John Hancock refused to return the deposit, and Houston Dairy brought suit against John Hancock in Mississippi state court. The case was removed to federal district court. The district court ruled there was a binding contract between the parties and entered judgment for John Hancock. Houston Dairy appealed.

Rule of Law


Holding and Reasoning (Ainsworth, J.)

What to do next…

  1. Unlock this case brief with a free (no-commitment) trial membership of Quimbee.

    You’ll be in good company: Quimbee is one of the most widely used and trusted sites for law students, serving more than 457,000 law students since 2011. Some law schools—such as Yale, Vanderbilt, Berkeley, and the University of Illinois—even subscribe directly to Quimbee for all their law students. Read our student testimonials.

  2. Learn more about Quimbee’s unique (and proven) approach to achieving great grades at law school.

    Quimbee is a company hell-bent on one thing: helping you get an “A” in every course you take in law school, so you can graduate at the top of your class and get a high-paying law job. We’re not just a study aid for law students; we’re the study aid for law students. Read more about Quimbee.

Here's why 457,000 law students have relied on our case briefs:

  • Written by law professors and practitioners, not other law students. 17,600 briefs, keyed to 984 casebooks. Top-notch customer support.
  • The right amount of information, includes the facts, issues, rule of law, holding and reasoning, and any concurrences and dissents.
  • Access in your classes, works on your mobile and tablet. Massive library of related video lessons and high quality multiple-choice questions.
  • Easy to use, uniform format for every case brief. Written in plain English, not in legalese. Our briefs summarize and simplify; they don’t just repeat the court’s language.

Questions & Answers

Have a question about this case?

Sign up for a free 7-day trial and ask it

Sign up for a FREE 7-day trial