a) According to Watermeyer v Murray 1911 AD 61 at 70, the formation of every valid contract is characterised by an offer and acceptance. This means that some form of communication either written or spoken takes place between the two contracting parties. As clearly shown in this particular case, John accepts the offer and is even asked to sign the document that reflects the terms and conditions of the contract. Had John cared to read the contract, he could have seen the clause that stated that the dry cleaners were not liable for any damage to the clothes left for cleaning.
This clause alone excludes Dan’s liability to the damage to John’s suit. This scenario could have been avoided had John asked or taken time to read the terms and conditions of the contract. However, he took everything for granted and assumed that everything will be well but that has not been the case. It is advisable to John that Dan can prove beyond any reasonable doubt that they entered into a valid contract which is enforceable. There are high chances for John to lose the case should he file a lawsuit against the dry cleaner.
The other important issue that should be taken into account by John is that legally binding agreements can also be created by the conduct of the parties without word passing between them (Gibson, 1988). This means that both John and Dan have formed a valid contract from their actions. In this particular case, the contract is written and this is enough evidence to validate the contract which means that Dan is not liable for any damage.
The two parties actually agreed to enter into a contract and John is told the conditions. One good thing about this contract is that john entered into it freely without any prejudice. By virtue of committing his signature to the document, this meant that John was entering into a valid contract. The essentials of formation of a valid contract have been met in this case hence there are high chances for John of losing the case should he decide to file a lawsuit against the dry cleaner.
The main reason is that the contract is very clear. On the other hand, the dry cleaner can also use the clause provided in the contract to avoid paying for any damages. In other words, the clause excludes the dry cleaner from any liability of paying any damages to John since the terms are clearly stated on the document which John signed. Legally, it can be argued that ignorance is no defence before the court of law. Any person who feels that he or she does not understand the terms of the contract should ask for clarifications before signing it.
Signing the document means that both parties have mutually agreed to enter into a contract and are bound by its conditions. A contract should not be left for chances and this is the reason why it may not be wise for John to file a lawsuit. (b) The main issue here is that in Ritz Hotel, there are sign that clearly states that for any lost or stolen property, the hotel is not responsible. The loss of Jenny’s expensive diamond ring does not make the hotel liable for compensating her.
The hotel staff may not be able to look after all valuable belongings and other small items. Therefore, it is the obligation of the owner of the goods to make sure that they keep them in a safe place. A diamond ring is small and valuable ant it should have been Jenny’s responsibility to look after it in such a way that it does not get lost. In the first place, it may be difficult for Jenny to prove that she had the ring in the first place.
Only and unless Jenny has declared all her belongings and leave them in the custody of the hotel staff can she be liable to file for a lawsuit for the stolen property. In this case, she is responsible for all her belongings which makes it impossible for the hotel to be liable for any loss of property. When entering either private or public places like hotels, there are signs written that inform the visitors about the need to keep their belongings.
In other words, it would be aptly stated that all goods are left at owner’s risk. This implies that the hotel is not liable for any loss of property particularly personal items that can only be kept by the owner. Once you leave your property after reading a sign that says property is left at owner’s risk, it means that you are agreeing to the terms and conditions that should anything happen to your goods, you will be responsible for any loss. An agreement to a certain condition means that you are binding yourself such that it may be impossible to file for a lawsuit should anything happen to your personal belongings.
In both cases, it may be observed that John and Jane are liable for the losses they encountered in both scenarios. The terms and conditions for the types of contracts they entered into are very clear and they are not forced to enter into the agreements. By freely committing themselves into the contracts, this meant that it may be impossible for them to file for a lawsuit against anyone other than themselves.
In both cases, it can be noted that the agreements are clear such that there is no one who can claim that they did not understand the conditions of the contract. Therefore, it is advisable for both parties not to file for any lawsuit given that it may be impossible for them to prove beyond any doubt to the courts that their losses have been deliberate. In fact, they took the risk on their own hence there is no one liable for what they later experienced.
References Gibson, JTR 1997, Mercantile and company law, JUTA & Company Limited: CT.