Lucy v. Zehmer

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Lucy v. Zehmer
Court Supreme Court of Appeals of Virginia
Citation 196 Va. 493 (1954)
Date decided 1954

Facts: Zhemer owned a farm that Lucy wanted to buy, and had tried to buy for several years. One night when Zhemer was drunk, Lucy and he were arguing about if Lucy could afford to buy the farm for $50,000. Lucy said, "I bet you wouldn't take $50,000 for that place." Zhemer responded, "Yes I would too; you wouldn't give fifty." An agreement was made and written up on the spot that the farm would be sold to Lucy for $50,000. Zhemer and his wife signed it along with Lucy.

Issue: Is the agreement an enforceable contract, even if one party did not really mean to make an agreement?

Arguments: Zhemer said he was too drunk to make an agreement. He didn't really mean to sell it; it was more of a joke.

Holding: The contract is enforceable

Reasons: "The mental assent of the parties is not a requisite for the formation of a contract."

Judgment: Reversed.