BUS311: Business Law I
Instructor: Martin Marinello
February 06, 2011
Back in the Summer of 2010 my parents had hired a gardner to help grow, cut, and maintain their front lawn and hedges. From a first glance, it was easy for anyone to assume that the grass was not the healthiest, and that both the lawn and hedges needed some work. The lawn had patchy areas with varying shades of green and yellow throughout, while the hedges or bushes grew wild and sort of looked like they had a mind of their own. Needless to say, the front yard definitely needed some work. The yard of the neighbors across the street always had a well kept front yard and this was because of Paul, their gardner. Naturally my parents had gone to the neighbors to inquire about Paul and his services. My parents were able to get his information, speak to Paul himself, and soon enough Paul had a new client to add to his, what seemed to be, a pretty successful gardening service. My dad had initiated and accepted a verbal contract with Paul. From what I understand, Paul’s services included the following: mowing the lawn and trimming the edges, trimming the bushes, watering both the lawn and bushes, fertilizing and maintaining the lawn, and clean up. His services amounted to $50 a month, with two visits each month. From that Summer to around Summer of 2011, Paul had been consistently performing his services. The front yard of my parents property had taken on a cleaner and healthier, well kept look, and for the most part my parents were satisfied. As the 2011 Summer had reached its end and the seasons started to change, so did the state of the front yard. The lawn began to change back towards its patchy green and yellow state, and the maintenance of the lawn edges and bushes was lacking. Paul still showed up twice a month, and my parents were still paying him for his services. From Autumn/Fall and into Winter, the front yard did not really show any signs of improvements, but my parents were still paying Paul for his services. We are well into the beginning of the new 2012 year and still no improvements have been made. At this point, my parents started to become concerned and now they were questioning the conditions of the verbal contract they had entered into.Considering the seven common reasons a contract is discharged: agreement, performance, impossibility of performance, alteration, operation of law, breach, and laws and regulations protecting the consumer; the contract with the gardener may soon be terminated. Usually when entering into a contract, one would be quick to assume that all contracts are in writing and require a somewhat lengthy process. In some cases this is true but a contract can actually be written or verbal. What is generally important when considering a contract is that there must be some kind of agreement between two parties. According to the text Essentials of Business Law by Anthony Liuzzo, he describes the nature of a contract as a “legally enforceable agreement that is created when two or more competent parties agree to perform, or to avoid performing, certain acts that they have a legal right to do and that meet certain requirements.” (2010). In this scenario, the agreement was made between Paul the gardener, and my parents, specifically my Dad.
In order to confirm that an enforceable contract is in place several elements must be present. These elements include: an offer along with an acceptance, a mutual agreement, consideration, competent parties, legality of purpose, and proper form. If even one of these elements is lacking then a court will not consider the agreement to be an enforceable contract.
To begin, there must be some kind of oral or written offer made between two parties. The party that proposes this offer is known as the offeror, and the party presumably accepting the offer is