Lefkowitz v. Great Minneapolis Surplus Store

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Lefkowitz v. Great Minneapolis Surplus Store
Court Supreme Court of Minnesota
Citation 86 N.W.2d 689 (Minn. 1957)
Date decided December 20, 1957
Appealed from Municipal Court of Minneapolis
Case Opinions
written by Murphy


Defendant put ad in the newspaper two successive weeks that it would sell a fur coat and other fur items to the first comer at the store at 9 a.m. the following Saturday for a price of $1. One item was said to be worth $139.50.

Lefkowitz (male plaintiff) went each Saturday and was the first person there, ready and willing to pay the $1. Each time he was told that the sale was for women only.

Procedural History

Lefkowitz (male plaintiff) filed a lawsuit in a municipal court for breach of contract.

Municipal court of Minneapolis awarded Plaintiff $138.50 and denied motion by Defendant for amended findings or new trial.


Did the ad constitute an offer?

Does an advertisement for the sale of goods that is clear, definite (with a time window for sale), explicit, & leaves nothing up for negotiation, constitute a binding offer that becomes enforceable upon acceptance by a buyer?


Defendant argued that the ad was a "unilateral offer," so it could be rescinded at any time. Ads were simply an invitation for someone to come in and offer to buy the items, and the seller could then accept the offer, reject it, or modify the price.


The specific definite advertisement was an offer.




The ad was clear, definite, and left nothing open for negotiation. Plaintiff fulfilled all requirements of the ad, so should have been given what was promised. The ad did not state the restriction to women only, so the "contract" between the Plaintiff and the Defendant cannot be changed after the acceptance of the offer.


Advertisements are generally not considered offers.