Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Test Your Legal Skills: The Intriguing Facts of Dixon v. Hassel & Folkes

A legal quiz for you ... something to ponder while you enjoy a beautiful March morning in Charlottesville.

Here are the facts:

1. A surveyor sends an engagement letter (signed at the bottom, by the surveyor) to a potential client. The letter includes the proposed terms of the surveyor's service along with the statement "Should you find this proposal acceptable, please sign both copies ... and return a fully executed copy to us. Receipt of the executed copy will serve as the written agreement.

2. The surveying project moves forward. The surveyor prepares the survey for the client. The client pays for it.

3. The client never actually signs the engagement letter or returns a copy to the surveyor.

4. Time passes.

5. There is an alleged problem with the survey.

6. The client files a lawsuit, claiming that the surveyor breached its contract by incorrectly determining certain lines on the survey (thereby contributing to a lawsuit by a neighboring landowner).

Here are the legal questions:

1. Does an enforceable contract exist between the client and the surveyor?

2. If an enforceable contract does exist, then for purposes of a lawsuit by the client against the surveyor, is it an oral contract or a written contract?


The above-facts are an abbreviated summary of the facts in a fascinating recent decision by the Supreme Court of Virginia. 

Check back in a few days to read our analysis of the Court's suprising answers (and if the suspense is killing you, take a sneak peak at the opinion in Dixon, LLC v. Hassel & Folkes, PC, here).

And here come the dogwoods...