Case No. A03A2174
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This 0 page Class Notes was uploaded by Varsha Mandiga on Thursday March 10, 2016. The Class Notes belongs to BUSA 2106 at Georgia State University taught by Grelecki in Spring 2016. Since its upload, it has received 18 views.
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Date Created: 03/10/16
Varsha Mandiga BUTLER V HOUSEHOLD MORTGAGE SYSTEMS INC et al FACTS Case No A03A2174 When June 4th 2004 Certiorari Dismissed June 28th 2004 Where Court of Appeals of Georgia Who Appellant Michael B Butler D Lake Rumsey Jr Atlanta Appellees McCurdy amp Candler Donald C Suessmith Jr Decatur MILLER Judge What Michael Butler appeals from an order in which the trial court found that Household Mortgage Services Inc Household and Fleet Mortgage Group Fleet could foreclose on Butler39s property because Butler had not entered into an enforceable settlement agreement with the mortgage companies to prevent the foreclosure prior to the time foreclosure proceedings were scheduled to begin Since the trial court properly concluded that there was no meeting of the minds between the parties such that an enforceable settlement agreement was created we affirm ISSUES Household transferred Butler39s mortgage to Fleet and in 1996 Fleet instituted foreclosure proceedings against Butler In June of that year Butler sued Household and Fleet in an attempt to prevent the foreclosure alleging that the mortgage companies wrongfully repudiated an alleged agreement to roll Butler39s mortgage debt into a new loan The trial court granted Butler a temporary restraining order on June 28 1996 which order temporarily prevented Household and Fleet from foreclosing on Butler39s property On March 15 2001 Butler39s attorney contacted one of appellees39 attorneys to discuss the terms of a settlement offer On March 22 the attorney with whom Butler39s attorney had spoken on March 15 sent a revised settlement offer to Butler The next day Butler39s attorney responded stating that Butler accepted the offer of settlement but also stating that the March 22 settlement letter still did not re ect two aspects of the settlement that the attorneys had agreed to on the telephone and that needed to be included in the final settlement Also in his letter Butler39s attorney acknowledged an upcoming April 3 foreclosure date and requested that appellees39 attorney confirm for him that the foreclosure would not actually take place Butler39s attorney wrote a followup letter to appellees39 attorneys on March 28 2001 purporting to confirm that a final settlement had been reached and that appellees therefore could not go forward with the April 3 foreclosure One of appellees39 attorneys responded by letter dated March 30 that no final settlement had been reached RULES An agreement alleged to be in settlement and compromise of a pending lawsuit must meet the same requisites of formation and enforceability as any other contract In this regard it is well settled that an agreement between two parties will occur only when the minds of the parties meet at the same time upon the same subject matter and in the same sense ANAYLSIS Butler did not accept the terms of appellees39 March 22 settlement offer to create a valid and binding settlement agreement Instead he made a counteroffer on March 23 making his acceptance conditional by insisting on terms that he had attempted to negotiate for on March 15 Acceptance of an offer must be unconditional unequivocal and without variance of any sort otherwise there can be no meeting of the minds and mutual assent necessary to contract formation Accordingly a subsequent communication by one party to the alleged contract that varies even one term of the original offer is a counteroffer The evidence reveals as even indicated by Butler39s attorney39s own affidavit that the parties were still negotiating a settlement through and including the time that Butler39s attorney sent letters purporting to have accepted a final settlement offer Thus there was no meeting of the minds between Butler and appellees such that a valid settlement agreement could have been created CONCLUSION Appellees filed a motion for a finding that no settlement had been reached between appellees and Butler and for a finding that the lack of a settlement would allow appellees to move forward with the foreclosure The court determined that quotthere was no meeting of the minds and therefore no settlement between the partiesquot The court further found that appellees could proceed with the foreclosure due to the lack of any settlement agreement In light of our holding in Division 1 we need not reach Butler39s remaining enumeration Judgment af rmed
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