Botticello v. Stefanovicz
177 Con. 22, 411 A.2d 16 (1979).

Facts:
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.

History:
The trial court ruled in favor of Botticello and ordered specific performance of the agreement.

Issues:
(1) Did an agency relationship exist?
(2) If not, by accepting the lease payments and acquiescing to the improvements, did Mary ratify the contract?

Holding:
No. Reversed.

Reasoning:
(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.