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The Formation of a Unilateral Contract, 27 Yale Law Journal 382 (1918)


The important distinctions between unilateral and bilateral contracts are slowly coming to be recognized. The case of Brackenbury V. Hodgkin (1917, Me.) 1O2 Atl. 106 affords an excellent opportunity for setting forth some of these distinctions. The exact words used by the parties are not given in the opinion, but the facts are reported by the court substantially as follows: The defendant wrote a letter to, her son-in-law, the plaintiff, offering that if he would move from Missouri to Maine and would care for the defendant during her life, he should have the ownership of the home place after the defendant's death and the use of it during her life. The plaintiff moved as requested and cared for the defendant for a few weeks. Trouble ensued, caused, as the court finds, by the unreasonable demands and bad disposition of the defendant, whereupon she conveyed the premises to her son-a co-defendant. The plaintiff filed a bill in equity to compel a reconveyance from the son to his mother, to restrain the
prosecution of a statutory ejectment suit brought by the son, and to obtain a decree that the mother should hold the land in trust for the plaintiff. The relief asked was granted in full.

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