P.O. Ventures, Inc. v. Loucks Family Irrevocable Trust

This case was about the sale of a large, beautiful tract of land in Eagle, Idaho. This was a fun one because it involved a set of facts straight out of a law school exam.

The buyer and seller didn't use attorneys to draft up an agreement. Let's be honest: where's the fun in that? Real estate sales contracts prepared by decent attorneys generally don't explode into lawsuits let alone appeals. Likewise, the buyer and seller didn't use a standard Real Estate Purchase Contract. Again, little chance for a thorny legal dispute there! Instead, the buyer and seller took a short list of terms, crossed some out by hand, added others, and signed at the bottom.

Eventually, the seller got cold feet and claimed that piece of paper with all the scribbles and very little legalese wasn't a contract at all. Not so fast, the trial court in Boise said, and the Supreme Court of Idaho agreed (see P.O. Ventures, Inc. v. Loucks Family Irrevocable Trust, 159 P.3d 870 (Idaho 2007)). Despite being light on some of the usual formalities, that document had all of the essential terms to convey a piece of real estate--and it was clearly an expression of mutual assent that one party was buying and one party was selling that beautiful tract of land.

Our client was pleased to enforce that "back of the napkin" contract. I understand that tract of land is now a subdivision full of beautiful homes and families.