Quimbee logo with url
From our private database of 15,100+ case briefs...

McGurn v. Bell Microproducts, Inc.

United States Court of Appeals for the First Circuit
284 F.3d 86 (2002)


Facts

Bell Microproducts, Inc. (defendant), sent a signed employment offer letter to George McGurn (plaintiff). Bell and McGurn had been negotiating a termination clause, particularly the length of the clause. The offer letter stated that if Bell terminated McGurn without cause within the first 12 months of his employment, he would be entitled to a severance package. McGurn crossed out 12 and wrote in 24. He then signed the letter and returned it to Bell. McGurn did not inform Bell he made this change. Bell fired McGurn without cause 13 months into his employment. Bell refused to pay McGurn a severance package. McGurn sued for breach of contract in Massachusetts Superior Court. Bell removed the case to federal court. There was no evidence that anyone at Bell was aware of McGurn’s alteration to the offer letter, but it was Bell’s practice to check the signature page of an offer letter to ensure that the letter was signed. In this case, McGurn’s alteration was on the second page of the letter, five inches above his signature. The district court granted summary judgment to McGurn, holding that Bell’s silence in response to McGurn’s counteroffer constituted acceptance. Bell appealed.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Lipez, J.)

Dissent (Selya, 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 97,000 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 287,000 law students have relied on our case briefs:

  • Written by law professors and practitioners, not other law students. 15,100 briefs, keyed to 204 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.