Who keeps the Engagement Ring?

Who keeps the Engagement Ring?

WARNING: Do NOT ‘copy and paste’ or ‘paraphrase’ excessively another student’s original answer. This is a form of plagiarism and will NOT be tolerated. You may refer to another student’s work in your student reply posts if proper credit is given to the original poster / student.

Who keeps the Engagement Ring?

The Facts:

Alex (“A”) proposes marriage to Barbara (“B”)
B accepts
A gives B an engagement ring
After 6 months A and B get tired of each other
The engagement is broken off
Who keeps the ring?

Post your answer and explanation. Use principles you have learned in my Lecture and Text. This is not based on your opinion alone; your conclusion MUST have a basis in the Law, therefore: YOU MUST refer to the Law and legal principles (say which one(s) and where you found them PRECISELY (“in the Textbook” is not good enough)
Comment on a classmate postings. AGAIN – make reference to the legal principles you have learned in my Lectures, the Text and/or web based resources. YOU MUST SUPPORT YOUR ANSWER BY REFERRING TO ANY OF THESE RESOURCES; AN UNSUPPORTED ANSWER = AN AUTOMATIC “F”. Note: I am not looking for the correct answer (this is NOT Law School)… I just want a coherent answer. Do your best, make an honest effort.

2 hours ago
Unit Topic: Contracts: The Agreement: Offer, Acceptance, and Consideration
Reading: Read Chapters 10, 11 & 12


The Overall Framework

In Unit 5, covering Chapter 9, I mentioned that in order for the Courts to determine that there is a Contract a number of elements must exist. Two of these elements are an Offer and an Acceptance. We will take these one at a time.
Please note that we are dealing with the Common Law of Contract in this Lesson, not the UCC. The UCC (“Uniform Commercial Code”) will be covered in the next Unit.


This is the first step in the formation of a contract. The Courts look for an objective sign that one party (“A”) wants to make a legally enforceable agreement with another party (‘B”). “A” is called the “offeror” and “B” is called the “offeree”. Here the characteristics of the Offer that must exist:
A. Intent
The offer must have been intended to be on offer and A must communicate the offer to B.
B. Definiteness of Terms
The offer must contain all the terms of the offer, nothing can be ambiguous or open-ended.
Special Problem Areas:
Advertisements, Rewards, Auctions, and Bids are all types of offers that have to be dealt with specifically. The Leonard v. Pepsico, Inc. case (link to this Case is in the Unit) illustrates how an advertisement could possibly obligate the advertiser when there appears to be an intention to be bound by the ad but there is ambiguity or mistake in the ad. In the Pepsico case, Pepsico was not bound, If they were, it would have been very expensive.

Other features of the principles surrounding Offers:

Termination of the Offer
The general rule is that all Offers are revocable (can be taken off-the table) but Offers involving Options; Offers for Unilateral Contracts (see the previous Unit); Promissory Estoppel; and Firm Offers under the UCC can prevent revocation.

If an offeror does not accept the Offer it could either an outright I-don’t-want-to-deal-with-you or the offeror could make a counter-offer. The process of bargaining is sill going on. B could then become the offeror and accept A’s offer (which is actually a counteroffer) and the Contract could be formed at this point.

Other ways an offer could end:
If either A or B die or become insane, if the subject matter of the Contract is destroyed, or if suddenly a law is passed that makes the completion of the Contract illegal (e.g., an international boycott), the the Offer is terminated, as it is said, “by operation of law.” .


In order for a Contract to be formed, the Offer must be accepted. Acceptance has various legal characteristics. These characteristics are all part of what the offeree manifests, namely: intention, accepting the terms, and communication
Once again, let’s remember that there is a difference between the common law rules and the UCC.

The common law requires that the Acceptance must be the same as the Offer: that is, there can be no additional terms in the Acceptance. The UCC (as I said, more about this in Unit 6) is far more flexible to the extent that the doctrine of the “Battle of the Forms” has emerged.
Two entities may be doing business over a long period of time, and over a distance in miles, and in the course of their dealings one of the parties alters that terms of the arrangement. For the most part, business dealings involving the UCC are not conduced face to face and certain elements of the written portion of the dealings — the Forms – can be changed while the dealings continue. The litigation in this case involves which party will be responsible for a cost resulting from a unilateral change in the ongoing Contract.
Communication of the Acceptance is a requirement. In today’s age of huge variation in the types of communication that is at everyone’s disposal, the rigid common law rules have been overtaken by events so that in business dealings under the UCC, a standard of reasonableness is applied.


This is another characteristic that the Courts require for there to be a Contract. The term “consideration” for some might be a curious type of word. I recommend that you think of it as “value”: something of value that the parties promise to exchange, or it is bargained for and given in exchange for an act or a promise.
In the Brads v. First Baptist Church case, (link to this Case is in the Unit) the dispute was over whether the pastor could collect the money the congregation had promised him. He had to prove that he had given something of value in exchange for getting the money.

Recall the doctrine of promissory estoppel discussed in Lecture 5. This doctrine turns up again in the discussion of Consideration (on page 405).

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Who keeps the Engagement Ring


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