Procedural Posture

Appellant seller challenged a judgment of the Superior Court of Los Angeles County (California), which found the seller liable to respondent buyer in damages for a breach of contract for sale and conveyance of real property.

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Overview

The seller argued that there was no unqualified acceptance of an offer, and consequently no enforceable contract with the buyer was executed. The seller also argued that he was induced to enter into the agreement by the fraudulent misrepresentations of the buyer as to the value of the property. The court found that the minor and inadvertent omissions in initialing an earnest money receipt by the buyer, which was returned by the seller with changes as a counterproposal, did not alter the essential elements of the instrument; therefore, there was an unequivocal acceptance of the counterproposal. The court found that when the seller returned the receipt with changes reflecting the revised agreement, he did not return the buyer’s check but retained it at all times up to the trial. The court concluded that the parties understood the check in the seller’s hands to be consideration for the revised agreement. The court found that the buyer’s representation that she had another offer to purchase similar property for a price that was similar to the agreed price was not a false representation, because she identified the other property at trial.

Outcome

The court affirmed the judgment of the trial court.