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White v. Corlies & Tift

Court of Appeals of New York
46 N.Y. 467 (1871)


Facts

Based upon provided specifications and a request for an estimate, White (plaintiff), a builder, submitted his estimate to Corlies & Tift (Corlies) (defendant) for the requested work on their offices at 57 Broadway. After making a change to the specifications, Corlies submitted a copy to White, which he assented to by signing and returning to Corlies. The next day, September 29, Corlies sent White a note stating, “Upon an agreement to finish the fitting up of offices 57 Broadway in two weeks from date, you can begin at once.” White immediately purchased supplies and began to prepare those materials for the work. The next day, Corlies sent another note retracting the previous note that had asked him to start the work. White sued Corlies for breach of contract. At trial, the lower court instructed the jury that it must determine whether White needed to give notice of assent before commencing the work. The trial judge stated in his instruction to the jury that he did not believe that White needed to give notice of assent, and verdict was entered for White. Corlies appealed the trial court’s jury instruction.

Rule of Law

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Issue

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Holding and Reasoning (Ayres, J.)

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  • A “yes” or “no” answer to the question framed in the issue section;
  • A summary of the majority or plurality opinion, using the CREAC method; and
  • The procedural disposition (e.g. reversed and remanded, affirmed, etc.).

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