SW Legal studies in Business

Bilateral Contract Exists Once Mutual Promises Are Exchanged
Description Appeals court held that a bilateral contract was executed as soon as both parties to the agreement, which was an exchange of mutual obligations, signed the agreement. Since the contract existed, all of its terms took effect immediately.
Topic Contracts
Key Words Bilateral Contract; Execution
C A S E   S U M M A R Y
Facts Hawley, who lived in Missouri, was hired by a college in Florida to recruit students in Missouri to attend the Florida school. Hawley never visited Florida; he was extended a job offer based on a recommendation. He signed the employment contract and mailed it to the college, where it was signed by the college president. Soon after, Hawley was attempting to recruit a student in Missouri when he was shot and killed. His heirs appealed that he should receive Florida workers' compensation under the terms of the contract. The compensation judge held that no compensation was due because there was a unilateral contract that could be formed only by Hawley's performance of his job in Missouri, which had not yet occurred. Hawley's heirs appealed.
Decision

Reversed. Hawley and the college clearly made mutual promises, so there is a bilateral contract. The contract was executed in Florida. "A contract is created where the last act necessary to make a binding agreement takes place." Once the president of the college signed the contract in Florida, a binding contract resulted. The contract was made in Florida under Florida law, and Hawley was performing for a Florida employer, so his heirs are due workers' compensation under Florida law.

Citation D.L. Peoples Group, Inc. v. Hawley, So.2d (2002 WL 63351, Ct. App., Fla., 2002)

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