Friday, August 28, 2009

Did John Mayer make an offer via Twitter to donate $25,000 to charity?

And I ask: Do you think Mayer made an offer?

Here's the background, from CNN (hyperlink added):
Wednesday Fall Out Boy singer Patrick Stump was arrested in Los Angeles for driving without a license and later released on $15,000 bail. Thursday, Jon Mayer tweeted that he was arrested for the same offense as Stump and  posted the following message on his Twitter page to’s Harvey Levin:
“Challenge: if Harvey Levin at TMZ can produce my mugshot, I will donate 25k to the charity of his choice.”
Well, TMZ delivered… and it sounds like the celebrity website is serious about making Mayer deliver on his challenge. The website wants to donate the cash to an animal charity… saying they’re close to saving a puppy’s life.
§ 24 of the Restatement (2d) of Contracts,"Offer Defined," provides:
An offer is the manifestation of willingness to enter into a bargain, so made as to justify another person in understanding that his assent to that bargain is invited and will conclude it.
Comment a to § 24 provides, in part:
In the normal case of an offer of an exchange of promises, or in the case of an offer of a promise for an act, the offer itself is a promise, revocable until accepted.


  1. A part of me feels like John Mayer was using this in a tongue and cheek manner, calling out a member of the swarming paparazzi who may have caused Mayer some ill feelings, but the other; more practical part of me sees this as a PR move for Mayer.

    I think he will pay it - rather, he has to! I'm not sure if he ever considered not paying it. He wanted the press, and he got it. The offer was made, Levin took the bate, and Mayer gets what he wanted.

  2. This reminds me of the Lonergan v Scolnick case for this weeks reading. The trial court did not argue there was no offer but stated it was contingent upon a quick response. The plaintiff did not act quickly and therefore did not meet requirement to terms of the offer. So, I say John Mayer is to pay the money because he made an offer contingent upon TMZ finding his mug shot. TMZ fulfilled the terms of the offer and therefore they accepted the offer.
    R. Shefferly

  3. I think Mayer did make an offer according to that restatement. He is a good guy though he will pay up especially considering to him that is not a large amount of money.

  4. Amanda Vintevoghel8/29/09, 9:30 PM

    I agree that he made an offer. I believe he achieved the "manifestation of willingness" criteria when he wrote the offer on Twitter, a location with the possibility of millions of people to see it and who would also expect him to act on it.

  5. He definately made an offer and TMZ made good on that offer. By Mayer posting that "Tweet", he offered a unilateral contract for TMZ to accept, as they did. He is bound by the "Tweet", and there is the chump change falling out of his pocket to save a dog's life.

  6. I believe that Mayer did make an offer. Holding to what Brandon said, Mayer made an offer for a unilateral contract for TMZ to accept upon the condition that they locate the mug shot photo.
    Applying what the court held in Izad v Machado, the true interpretation of what the offer or acceptance is comes down to not what Mayer thought or intended it to mean, but what a reasonable person in the position of TMZ would have thought it meant. I believe a reasonable person would have accepted Mayer’s words at face value, considering Mayer’s character and the nature of the ‘Twitter’ website as a method of expressing a person’s true thoughts. TMZ clearly interpreted Mayer’s words as a serious offer as demonstrated by their act of finding the photo and could, if they so chose, force Mayer to hold up his end of the deal. The ball is in Mayer's court now to hold up his end of the contract.

  7. John Mayer offered an unilateral contract and it was formed... He'll have to pay... I feel like he knew that TMZ would be able to produce his mug shot... He can keep the promise with TMZ and donate the money to the charity at the same time. Therefore he becomes a man of his word.

  8. Mayer is most definitely bound by the offer he made. This reminds me of the hypothetical story in our reading regarding A, B and the Brookly Bridge. Mayer could have withdrawn his offer before TMZ produced the picture. Yet he didn't, and knowing his fondness for the spotlight, he will very likely pay up.

  9. I actually do not think it is so cut and dry. What if it was not Mayer who posted the twitter message? What if it was someone with no authorization to make this challenge?

    Pepsi also implied with their commercial that if you ponied up 7,000,000 points, you can obtain a harrier jet. What is the difference between a tv commercial and a twitter message that Mayer should honor his hypothetical challenge and Pepsi should not?

    Also how was the picture procured? Mayer, or someone acting on his behalf, seemed to think that obtaining his mugshot would be highly difficult, maybe even impossible. Does the method the picture was obtained violate his right to privacy and would that therefore eliminate the admissibility of the picture to be used in this contract case?

  10. Mircea Iosif8/31/09, 12:06 AM

    TMZ delivered. Pay the money Mayer

  11. Fatymah Joseph8/31/09, 11:24 AM


    Randy makes good points when he questions the method of retrieving the picture and referring back to the Pepsi Co. case. However, going a little further and actually reading the Twitter communication between John Mayer and Harvey Levin, I find no reason to believe Mayer wasn't serious and fully aware of his offer and its consequential damage. The way he administered his "challenge" -as he called it- was clear and concise to a certain degree.
    Mayer stayed on his word and split the $25,000 between two charities because Levin was not the first in finding his mugshot (even though Mayer did not state that he had to be first). Since Harvey Levin is a lawyer, it's a good thing John stayed on his word. Mayer's following "challenge" would probably be taken more satirical.
    He states, "Challenge: I was married for 4 years to a member of the Moody Blues. Produce the certificate and I'll buy you one chicken tender."


  12. Unless there is anyway to prove that it was John Mayer himself that produced the tweet, the unilateral contract is not binding. For all we know it could have been someone messing around on Mayer's twitter. More facts must be discovered before conclusions are jumped to. Also using an subjective standard a reasonable person may not rely on a internet website as valid, because of all the impersonators on these social networking sites.

  13. Anjela Freeman8/31/09, 12:09 PM

    This issue is an example of an offer and acceptance of a unilateral contract. Mayer’s conditional statement was directed specifically to Levin at TMZ. While it may be somewhat humorous, given Levin’s line of work, the objective and reasonable expectation of most readers would be that Mr. Mayer’s tweet is a unilateral offer to Mr. Levin. Mr. Levin accepted that offer through his performance, and did so within a reasonable amount of time. Mr. Mayer needs to pay up.

    If I were defending Mr. Mayer, however, I might point out (as other student here have) that there is no proof that Mayer was the individual who typed the “tweet.” Have the courts had to rule yet on whether Twitter is a reliable and enforceable method of communication?

    Perhaps I should look this up.

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