Quiz 12: Nature and Classes of Contracts: Contracting on the Internet
Contract: A contract is an agreement made by interested parties to perform or withhold certain duties. A contract must not be made for unlawful acts. E.g. hiring someone commit murder, prevention of competition, price setting, etc. Protection of contracts stems from common law and also federal and local statutes.
In the specified case, fourteen applicants received a "conditional offer of employment" from a police academy training class. Their offer was subjected to successful completion of medical and psychological exam. However, later on, the plaintiffs were not offered employment despite passing the tests. Till then, the city has changed the selection criteria and these applicants were replaced by new ones. Offer refers to the situation when one party shows his willingness to enter into an agreement. The other party accepting this offer under specified conditions would be termed as acceptance. In this case, the city has proposed an offer by sending the "conditional offer of employment" that required the candidates to pass the medical and psychological exam. The candidates have successfully passed the specified exams, which show their acceptance. The offer is employment, with offeree (plaintiffs) having to fulfill the conditions in order to gain employment. The court viewed the letters sent as a unilateral contract. The city defend that the letter sent was a notification because the plaintiffs are not obliged to enroll in academy, hence it can't be binding on them. However, the court argued mutual obligation is only required in bilateral contracts where both parties agree to certain duties, not in unilateral contracts. Hence, it is concluded that it was a " unilateral contract."
Comparison of Implied contract with Quasi contract: An implied contract is an unwritten contract where parties agree to terms by performance, for example, a homeowner allowing a plumber to fix his sink. Both parties usually understand the duty owed to each other. Small companies may often do business with implied contract. Quasi contracts are also unwritten but are court ordered to prevent unjust enrichment of one party. For example, if the homeowner doesn't express to allow the plumber to fix his sink but doesn't stop the plumber from fixing it either, the court may order the homeowner to pay for benefits gained from the service. However, there's no mutual agreement in this case.