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City of Everett v. Estate of Sumstad

(1981)

Washington Supreme Court - 95 Was. 2d 853, 95 Wash. 2d 853

tl;dr:

A couple bought a locked safe at an estate auction "as is." They got the safe opened and found $30,000+ inside.

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Case Summary

In the 1981 case City of Everett v. Estate of Sumstad, the Washington Supreme Court addressed the question of a sale of good, a sage, with unknown contents.

The Mitchells went to an auction for the Sumstad Estate, where they purchased a used safe with an inside compartment for $50. The inside compartment of the safe was locked and the auctioneer told them that he did not have any key to open it. After buying the safe, the Mitchells went to a locksmith to have the inside compartment opened and found $32,207 inside.

The trial court granted summary judgment for the Estate and ordered the Mitchells to return the money. The appeals court affirmed. The case was then appealed to the Supreme Court of Wisconsin.

ICRAIssue, Conclusion, Rule, Analysis for City of Everett v. Estate of Sumstad

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Facts & HoldingCity of Everett v. Estate of Sumstad case brief facts & holding

Facts:The Mitchells went to an auction for the Sumstad Estate,...

Holding:Reversed. There was a sale, and the buyers are entitled...

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City of Everett v. Estate of Sumstad | Case Brief DeepDive
Majority opinion, author: Dolliver, J. —
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The City of Everett filed an interpleader action to determine who is entitled to a sum of money found in a safe purchased by the Mitchells at an auction. The trial court granted summary judgment in favor of the Sumstad Estate, which was affirmed by the Court of Appeals. The court found that there was a sale of the safe and its unknown contents at the auction, determined by the objective manifestation theory of contracts. The intention corresponding to the reasonable meaning of a person's words and acts is imputed, and if the offeror manifests an intention to agree, that agreement is established. The formation of a contract requires the apparent mutual assent of the parties, which must be gathered from their outward expressions and acts, not from an unexpressed intention.

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