Steve Long Salinas17 at AOL.COM
Fri Feb 23 21:27:43 UTC 2001

In a message dated 2/23/2001 3:09:39 PM, bill_mann at SIL.ORG writes:

<< I recall a concept from a contract law course. It was called "meeting of
minds."  An example: If A and B create a sale contract, so that A is selling
a boat named "Happy Trails,"  a barge, but B is buying a boat named "Happy
Trails,"  a schooner, and it can be established that these were the thoughts
that were being thought when the

contract was signed, then by law there was no "meeting of minds."  >>

But there is plenty of judicial dicta (official judge talk) that makes it
clear that the trier of fact (e.g., jury) cannot try to read minds.  This is
from the "seminal" (often cited) case quoted in Black's Law Dictionary:

"The 'meeting of the minds' required to make a contract is not based on
secret purpose or intention on the part of one of the parties, stored away in
his mind and not brought to the attention of the other party, but must be
based on the purpose and intention that has been made known or should have
been known ... from the circumstances."  McClintock v. Skelly Oil Co., 232
Mo. App. 1204, 114 S.W. 2d, 181, 184

So as a matter of evidence, what tells us that there might be no contract in
the example you gave was NOT what was going on in A and B's heads, but the
fact that there were two different ships by the same name.

Of course, the parties must give their reports of what they were thinking.
But that would only stand up if there were two different ships or some other
OBJECTIVE reason for a lack of common intent.

Steve Long

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