The law of contract requires that the parties to the contract are competent to make a binding contract; in the case of Georgia and Malcolm, both are portrayed to have competence in making the contract. Both parties were of sound mind and the age of majority (Fafinski & Emily, 2009). When making a contract of sale, both parties to the contract must agree to the terms articulated in the sale, they should be referring to the same commodity to avoid any chance of misunderstanding. In this case, when Georgia was engaging in the contract with Malcolm, both understood that the subject of the contract was to maintain Malcolm’s pets for consideration. On the other hand, they engaged in a signed contract where Malcolm sent his standard to Georgia who signed and delivered it to Georgia. By delivery of the contract form among other considerations above, it implied that Malcolm agreed to the teams of the contract and thus was to be held accountable for all the terms and conditions stipulated. When parties to a contract have the same commodity/subject in mind, then the contract can be enforced if the parties are capable of making a legally binding contract as provided by the laws of a jurisdiction that the deal is being sealed (Gillies, 2004).
For a contract to be valid, there are four elements it has to have they are:
- Legal capacity, a contracting party must have the legal capacity to contract; this means that he must be of the age of majority and of sound mind (this is the assumption that has been made between Georgia and Malcolm that they had the legal capacity to make a valid contract
- There must be mutual consent of the parties to a contract; there should be no external influence that can influence the decision of one or both parties to enter into the contract. In the event of Georgia and Malcolm, they had the time to make some negotiations which can be termed as means and the process that they engaged to make the contract. According to Gillies, P. (2004) “Negotiation is a process whereby two persons or groups strive to reach agreement on issues or courses of action where there is some degree of difference in interest, goals, values or beliefs” (Gillies, 2004)
Lawful objective; a contract cannot be enforceable if its nature and elements contract laws governing it, it must thus be in accordance to be laws of a country; Georgia and Malcolm were acting and consenting to be held accountable of the contract requirements Randy, B.(2003).
For a contract to be valid there must be some consideration; a consideration is anything of value promised by a party in a contract (Atiya, 1990).
Issue of the case
The first issue of the case came with the statement that Georgia made to Malcolm: ‘I am a professional, an animal lover and that this should not be a problem,’ the above statement was meant to create confidence in Malcolm that she was professional in her work. It is with the strength of the statement that Malcolm accepted to engage in the contract. He went further and explained the benefits that he was anticipating in the future from his award-winning rabbit and his tropical fish estimated to be $10,000. With the explanation, he was communicating to Georgia the value that he has with his pets (Evensen, 2009). The next statement that is likely to bring some contradictions is the statement found in the contact file; it stated that “‘Georgia maintains the highest standards in animal care. However, Georgia will not be liable for death or illness of tropical fish due to their specific vulnerabilities.’ The above statement was meant to cover Georgia from paying any damages that might result from the death or illness of tropical fish as they are known to be vulnerable. When interpolating the case, the main question will revolve around the above statement (Fruehwald, 2009). The following are the guiding questions to evaluate the contractual basis and make a ruling or give advice to both parties:
Was there a binding contract?
From the analysis of issues, it is evident that the two parties intended to engage in a legally binding contract, they underwent through all processes of a legal contract which started from accepting an offer for consideration as well as signing the necessary contract documents. The delivery of the contract document at Georgia shows that Malcolm had read the contract document and in the event, he overlooked some areas, he will be held accountable for the terms and conditions whether he read or not. When Georgia received the contractual documents and started her task, it showed that she had become comfortable with the contract terms and was willing to push on as the contract stipulated (Kenward, 2009).
Was there negligence from either side?
Looking at the facts of the case, Malcolm had some negligence on his side; he failed to scrutinize the contractual documents and overlooked some factors that are likely to determine the ruling in the case. He failed to see that Georgia has distanced herself from any loss or death of tropical fish resulting from their vulnerability.
On the side of Georgia, as a professional, she was expected to take diligent care of the foods that she was giving the pets; the fact that she fed fish with rabbit food resulting in their death was proof that she failed to practice her professionalism and did not honor the statement and assurance she had given to Malcolm that ‘I am a professional, an animal lover and that this should not be a problem.’ She acted unprofessionally and thus failed to honor the needs or the requirements of the contract. The statement that “‘Georgia maintains the highest standards in animal care However Georgia will not be liable for death or illness of tropical fish due to their specific vulnerabilities,’ cannot be the hiding place for Georgia since the death of the tropical fish did not come from their vulnerability but resulted from them was the pets were handled. The augment would be, if the fish were given the right food and taken care of, was there any reason that would have resulted in their death (Riachards, 2005). The rabbits lost their beautiful hair because of the way they were handled by Georgia, they were given the wrong potion of food (they were fed by fish food), because of the unprofessionalism of Georgia, the rabbit suffered. The condition of the rabbits made the aquarium filter block; with the blockage, Malcolm’s house was flooded with water; this resulted in flooding of the house damaging Malcolm’s furniture and the house Malcolm is renting (McKendrick, 2005).
The damage from the contract
From the contact, there have been damages that have accrued to Malcolm, the damages are as follows: the award-winning tropical fish succumbed to the food that they were fed with, they died. The cost of the fish has been termed as worth thousands of dollars, with the death Malcolm has suffered the cost. The rabbits had been stressed because of being fed with the wrong food; the suffering of the rabbits, they lost their beautiful hair. The loss of the hair meant that Malcolm would not be able to attend a competition in Melbourne where he was expecting to receive $10,000. This amount had been lost because of the negligence and unprofessional handling that Georgia has practiced. The blockage of the sink/aquarium from the wrong feeding resulted in over flooding and damage of furniture, and the house that Malcolm had rented. The cost of repair is the monetary loss that Malcolm has suffered (Ewan, 2004)
Advice to Malcolm
Looking at the situation and facts of the case, the death of the tropical fish as well as the loss of hair on rabbits resulted from the negligence of Georgia. Subsequent damage that resulted could have been avoided if only Georgia has taken professional care of the pets (Richardo, 2010). With this Malcolm can sue for damages and breach of contract; when suing for the same, the following are the issues that he should quote:
- Georgia breached the contract by not behaving diligently and never stood with the assurance he gave to the other party (Berharid, 2007). The assurance is the main determinant of the contract.
- Georgia misrepresented his professionalism to “force” Malcolm to engage in the contract; it was from the misrepresentation that both engaged in the contract. Had it not been for the assurance given, chances are that Malcolm would not have entered into the contract. With the proof that Malcolm entered the relationship with the misrepresented statement, the court is likely to rule to his benefit; this is an area that Malcolm should dwell on.
- The statement that Georgia does not take the liability of the death of tropical fish resulting from their vulnerability cannot be used as the reason to avoid her paying for damages because the fish did not die because of their vulnerability but they died because they were mishandled (Carvan, 2005).
Malcolm, according to the law of contact has the right to seek payment of damages as follows:
- The cost of the tropical fish: this would result because the fish has succumbed to the wrong feeding to a point of death
- The cost of bringing the rabbits to their normal state that can make them win future competitions or returning them to their normal state
- They would be lost because Malcolm cannot attend a competition in Melbourne where he expected to have earned $10000. When determining the cost to compensate, the situation of the case should be looked upon, and the chances of winning be evaluated.
- The cost of furniture and the damage to the house. The house and furniture were damaged because of the rabbit blocking the aquarium, thus Georgia could have taken enough care to avoid such events (Sweeney, O’Reilly & Coleman, 2010).
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