Tobin v. BarterAnnotate this Case
Philip Barter hired Philip Tobin to produce a book encompassing Barter’s artistic works. The parties subsequently entered into a written agreement providing that Tobin would write the text for the book and setting forth the financial arrangements. Tobin drafted a manuscript of the book and gave Barter a draft of the manuscript, but Barter did not respond. Thereafter, Tobin filed a complaint alleging that Barter had breached the parties’ contract. The jury returned a verdict in favor of Tobin. The next day, the trial court granted Barter’s motion for a judgment as a matter of law, concluding that Tobin had failed to present sufficient evidence that the parties had a meeting of the minds necessary to form a legal contract. The Supreme Court reversed and remanded with directions to reinstate the jury’s verdict in favor of Tobin, holding (1) the trial court erred in issuing its judgment in favor of Barter as a matter of law; and (2) a jury rationally could have found that Barter had materially breached the contract by failing to respond to Tobin.