Quimbee logo
DMCA.com Protection Status
From our private database of 16,800+ case briefs...

Southworth v. Oliver

Oregon Supreme Court
587 P.2d 994 (1978)



Oliver (defendant) approached Southworth (plaintiff), a neighbor, to determine Southworth’s interest in buying a plot of grazing land Oliver was selling. Southworth was interested, and Oliver stated he still needed to determine the price, other terms, and the treatment of grazing permits in which another neighbor (Holliday) was interested. Southworth later telephoned Oliver to ask how he was coming along with the process, to confirm his interest in purchasing the land, and to let Oliver know he had obtained the purchase price. Several days later, on June 17, 1976, Southworth received a letter from Oliver indicating that he was selling 2,933 acres of land in Grant County for $324,419. The letter also required a 29 percent down payment with the balance payable over the next five years at an 8 percent interest rate. Oliver sought either a December 1, 1976 or January 1, 1977 sale date. After receiving this letter from Oliver, Southworth sent a response letter to Oliver on June 21, 1976 saying that he accepted Oliver’s offer to sell the land. Oliver replied with another letter, saying Southworth “misconstrued” the purpose of his June 17th letter and that he only intended the letter to provide information about the land for sale. Oliver stated that he did not wish to enter into a binding contract to sell the land to Southworth, but that he merely wanted to open up additional negotiations with Southworth, as well as other neighbors. Southworth brought suit in Oregon state court seeking specific performance of the alleged contract for the sale of land. The trial court held for Southworth and ordered specific performance. Oliver appealed.

Rule of Law


Holding and Reasoning (Tongue, 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 450,000 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 450,000 law students have relied on our case briefs:

  • Written by law professors and practitioners, not other law students. 16,800 briefs, keyed to 224 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