Lucy v. Zehmer (1954) was a court case in the Supreme Court of Virginia. The question of the applicability of the contract was based on the appearance of the agreement. Today the Lucy v. Zehmer case is usually considering in the first-year law classes in American law schools.
In this case, the plaintiff is Lucy, and defendant Zehmer. The defendant in this case A.H. Zehmer and his wife Ida S. Zehmer owned the farm in the county of Dinwiddie, Virginia, which was known as known as Ferguson Farm. The plaintiff V. O. Lucy had been familiar with Zehmer for many years and had long been interested in buying his farm. A few years before the case, Zehmer verbally agreed to sell the farm to his acquaintance, but after a while, he changed his mind and refused to complete the sale.
Lucy v Zehmer case brief: In the evening of December 20, 1952, the defendant drank alcohol in one of the bars, where his friend, W.O. Lucy. Like Zehmer, Lucy drank alcohol and bought alcoholic beverages for Zehmer. During their conversation, Lucy offered to buy a farm from Zehmer for $ 50,000. This proposal was not for the first time, but Zehmer refused every time. But this time the conversation about the sale of the farm took them about forty minutes. Zehmer doubted that Lucy would be able to pay him an amount of $ 50,000 dollars. On this doubt, Lucy replied that he really can, and for this, he suggested that Zehmer write out a contract for sale. Zehmer began to work out an agreement on the intention to sell the farm to his acquaintance for $ 50,000 on the back of the check from the bar.
After the agreement was over, Lucy examined him and told Zehmer to change the agreement to include his wife's agreement to sell the property, and his wife signed it. Zehmer's wife was also in this bar and he asked his wife to sign this agreement. However, his wife refused to sign the agreement and Zehmer whispered in her ear that this was only a joke. As a result, Zehmer's wife signed an agreement. However, no one told Lucy that they had comic intentions. This agreement also contains a provision on the consideration of property rights and a description of what will be included in the sale. Zehmer concluded his agreement and handed it over to Lucy. In turn, Lucy offered Zehmer $ 50,000 to close the deal.
Only after that, Zehmer realized that Lucy was serious and did not say it was a joke. Lucy left the bar and solicited a brother to help him raise $ 50,000 according to the farm purchase agreement. After they managed to collect the amount, Lucy again announced her intention to buy a farm from Zehmer in accordance with their agreement. Nonetheless, Zehmer again insisted that he never planned to sell the farm and that the note (and not the agreement) that he signed with his wife was written just for fun, in a cheerful atmosphere and alcoholic intoxication that evening. Zehmer again refused the deal, and in response to this, Lucy filed suit Lucy vs Zehmer for a particular performance.
Because of Zehmer's statements, which claimed that Lucy should have realized that he was too intoxicated to accept the sale, sediments were made and an appeal decree and judged the decision that the applicants could not establish their right to specific results and as a result, he rejected their bill. In the first instance court in the Lucy v. Zehmer case, Lucy did not have the right to a specific performance, and Lucy appealed this decision.