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St. Peter v. Pioneer Theatre Corp.

Iowa Supreme Court
291 N.W. 164 (1940)


The Pioneer Theatre Corp. (Pioneer) (defendant) ran a “bank night” at which it held a drawing and awarded a prize to the winner. Entrants could be patrons of the theatre or simply standing outside. If a patron stood outside, a Pioneer employee would inform him of the name called and he would have a limited time from the time his name was called to redeem the prize. During one of the bank nights, Mr. and Mrs. St. Peter entered the drawing and stood outside Pioneer’s theatre waiting for a name to be called. An employee of Pioneer ran out and told Mrs. St. Peter (plaintiff) that her name was called. She went into the theatre and told the manager, Parkinson, that she was claiming her prize. Parkinson told her that it was actually her husband’s name that had been called. Her husband was trailing behind her and she motioned for him to come to Parkinson to claim the prize. As he did, however, the lights in the theatre went out and the St. Peters had trouble immediately finding Parkinson. When they found him, Parkinson told Mr. St. Peter that he was one second too late in claiming the prize and that Parkinson would not pay him. Mr. St. Peter assigned his claim to his wife and she brought suit against Pioneer for breach of contract. The trial court granted Pioneer’s motion for a directed verdict, finding that Pioneer’s offer was not supported by consideration. Mrs. St. Peter appealed.

Rule of Law


Holding and Reasoning (Miller, J.)

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