Botticello v. Stefanovicz
177 Con. 22, 411 A.2d 16 (1979).
Mary and Walter Stefanovicz owned a farm as tenants in common. Walter and Botticello reached a lease and option-to-purchase agreement, and Walter never mentioned that he was acting as his wife’s agent. Botticello made improvements and then tried to exercise the option.
The trial court ruled in favor of Botticello and ordered specific performance of the agreement.
(1) Did an agency relationship exist?
(2) If not, by accepting the lease payments and acquiescing to the improvements, did Mary ratify the contract?
(1) Marital status alone doesn’t prove an agency relationship, nor does the fact that the farm was jointly owned. Furthermore, Mary’s statement that she wouldn’t accept anything less than $85,000 doesn’t constitute an agreement to sell.
(2) Restatement (Second) of Agency defines ratification as “the affirmance by a person of a prior act which did not bind him but which was done or professedly done on his account.”
- The court also required an intent to ratify, and full knowledge of the material circumstances.
- Here, this wasn’t present and Mary could’ve thought it was simply a lease.