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Roth v. Malson

Court of Appeal of California
79 Cal. Rptr. 2d 226 (1998)


George Malson (defendant) placed a parcel of real estate consisting of 23.8 acres on the market for $47,600. John Roth (plaintiff) submitted an offer on the property using a standard real-estate form titled Sales Agreement and Deposit Receipt. The offer was for $41,650, with closing to be 30 days from the acceptance of the offer. On November 2, 1995, Malson sent a counteroffer back to Roth on another standard real-estate form, with the purchase price changed to $44,000 and all other terms of the offer to be retained. The counteroffer contained an expiration date of November 8, 1995. The document contained blanks for Roth to either accept the counteroffer or make another counteroffer. Roth filled out the Counter to Counter Offer blank and handwrote on the Changes/Amendments line on the form, “Price to be 44,000.00 as above. Escrow to close on or before Dec. 6, 1995. All cash.” Roth sent this form back to Malson before the deadline on November 8, 1995. Roth did not place a deadline on accepting the counter-counteroffer. Malson rejected the Counter to Counter Offer, and Roth sued Malson for specific performance. Malson moved for summary judgment on the ground that no contract existed to be enforced. The trial court granted summary judgment to Malson, and Roth appealed to the Court of Appeal of California.

Rule of Law


Holding and Reasoning (Sims, J.)

Dissent (Raye, J.)

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