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Legal Issues Arising from Deandra's Sale of Famous Five Statues


Deandra is a fine arts student at Western University in London, Ontario. She has her ownstudio in an old shop on her parents’ farm near St. Thomas, Ontario, which is only 10 km awayfrom London, Ontario.As a final project to fulfill the last requirement of her Honors’ Degree in Fine Arts at WesternUniversity, Deandra decides to undertake a hugely ambitious project. Deandra designs andcasts a bronze life-size statue of each of the “Famous Five” Canadian female suffragists(Emily Murphy, Irene Parlby, Nellie McLung, Louise McKinney and Henrietta Muir Edwards)from the 1920’s. It takes Deandra hundreds of hours of work to complete the statues, andshe has to borrow $5,000 from her parents for the bronze materials and casting supplies. Thestatues are also extremely heavy, with each figure weighing one thousand kilos.Deandra’s instructor in her bronze-casting course at Western, Robert, believes that Deandra’sFamous Five statues are of exceptional quality. He calls a friend at the London Free Press,which runs an article on Deandra’sFamous Five that includes pictures of the statues with a heading of “London Artist Honors Suffragists”. On the last day of the term, Robert asksDeandra what she is planning on doing with the Famous Five statues. Deandra replies thatshe has no plans for the statues, but advises Robert that if he would like to buy them, she willsell them to him if he will reimburse her the $5,000 it originally cost her in materials to makethem. Deandra says, “Robert, you have done so much for me as an instructor over the pastyears, I would love to give you the first chance to buy these statues.” Robert responds byinforming Deandra that he would love to buy the statues, but he has to check with his wife firstand see if she is in favor of the idea before he makes any commitment. Deanna tells Robertthat she will give him one week to talk to his wife and decide whether he will accept her offerbefore she looks elsewhere. She also tells him that he can give her his final answer via emailsent to her personal email address since she won’t be on campus in a week’s time.Two days after this conversation with Robert, Deandra receives a phone call on her cell phonefrom a woman who identifies herself as Erica. Erica advises Deandra that she (Erica) is aphilanthropist who lives in London. Erica has seen the article on Deandra’s Famous Five statues and would love to buy them, donate them to the City of London, and have them permanently displayed in a park alongside the Thames River. Erica offers Deandra $15,000 cash for the Famous Five statues,subjectonly to the condition that Deandra deliver at Deandra’s own cost the Famous Five statues to a park of Erica’s choosing alongside theThames River somewhere in the City of London. Deandra accepts Erica’s offer immediately over the phone. Deandra is not worried about the delivery condition because she knows she can borrow her Dad’s pickup truck and utility trailer. Her dad also has a skid-steer that canbe used to load and unload the statues.Upon accepting Erica’s offer, Deandra sends a text message to Robert saying that she issorry, but she has sold the Famous Five statues to another party who is paying $15,000 andputting them on permanent public display. Upon getting this text, Robert immediately callsDeandra’s phone, extremely angry. Robert advises Deandra that his wife had agreed toRobert’s buying the statues and that Robert has already gone to the bank and gotten a bankdraft for $5,000 issued in the name of Deandra. He complains, “After all I’ve done for you, Ican’t imagine that you would do this to meUnbeknownst to Deandra, Erica does not live in London, Ontario, but rather in London,England. Erica did not read the article on the Deandra’s Famous Five statues in the LondonFree Press newspaper, but rather in a Yahoo online posting, which had picked up andrepublished the article from the London Free Press. Erica had no idea where Deandra wasbased in the world, and assumed that the “London” reference in the article title meant London,England.

When Erica sends a follow-up email to Deandra designating the delivery location for theFamous Five statues as Barrier Park, Thames River, London England, Deandra feelsimmediately ill. Deandra checks with all the shipping companies in London, Ontario and findsthat the least expensive quote for shipping the Famous Five statutes to London, England is$25,000. (P.S.- Both London, England and London, Ontario have a Thames River runningthrough the middles of the cities.)

a. Does Robert have any legal remedy against Deandra? Fully explain your answer, statingthe legal rules that would apply. 

b. What would be the circumstance if Robert had e-mailed his acceptance before he receivedthe call from Deandra saying she was selling to Erica instead? Fully explain your answerstating the legal rules that would apply. 

c. Is Deandra bound by the terms of the agreement she made with Erica? Explain. 

d. What would the implications be on Question C above if the facts were changed such thatthe phone conversation between Deandra and Erica occurred a week before Deandra’eighteenth birthday?

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