[Solved] BUS 012A: Weston v. Cornell University (Ch. 11) Case Brief


Write a case brief on Weston v. Cornell University using the case study in chapter 11 of the Business Law (14the Ed.) by Kenneth W Clarkson, Kenneth Clarkson, Roger LeRoy Miller, Roger Miller, Frank B Cross, and Frank Cross.

Facts: Plaintiff left a tenured position at another university to accept the defendant’s written offer of “an appointment as Associate Professor with tenure.” However, the process to confirm the plaintiff’s tenure was delayed and, ultimately, never completed. When the plaintiff was then notified that her employment would be terminated, she commenced this action alleging, among other things, a breach of contract. Defendant moved to dismiss the complaint, asserting a defence founded on documentary evidence. Agreeing with the defendant that its written offer could not be read to guarantee tenure, Supreme Court granted the defendant’s motion to the extent of dismissing the plaintiff’s breach of contract claim. Plaintiff now appeals.

Issue: The issue is whether the defendant, Cornell University, is entitled to be granted its motion for summary judgment because the original 1998 letter agreement with the plaintiff for tenure as a professor was materially modified by the later 2003 agreement.

Rules: The rule of law is that there are no material facts in dispute, and the defendant is entitled to its motion for summary judgment because the evidence shows that the original contract offer was materially modified by the plaintiff’s acceptance of its 2003 offer to extend her appointment as a professor.

Application: This situation was interesting because the school granted Weston an extra two years to earn the tenure but restated the language in the contract to make it not seem guaranteed. I believe that if the court only looked at the second contract, they should have granted Cornell the decision; however, they took into account the first contract, which stated that Weston would have tenure.

Conclusion: Ordered that the order is modified, on the law, with costs to the defendant, by reversing so much thereof as partially denied the defendant’s motion for summary judgment; said motion granted in its entirety and breach of contract cause of action dismissed; and, as so modified, affirmed.

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Published On: 01-01-1970

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