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Attorney's Million Dollar Dare Comes Back to Haunt Him

By Kevin Fayle | Last updated on
On this blog, I try to pass along tips for running a small law firm.  Essentially, ways to plan and operate your firm so that you will meet your goals (the blog is called the "Strategist," after all).

Well, here's one Florida attorney whose story offers an example of a strategy not to pursue.

Cheney Mason went on Dateline and offered a million dollars to anyone who could prove that his client, Nelson Ivan Serrano, was actually able to travel across two states and kill four people in the time that prosecutors had alleged.
A South Texas College of Law graduate, Dustin Kolodziej, saw the segment and decided to take Mason up on his dare.  He retraced the route the prosecutors claim Serrano took, and came in under the time limit, videotaping his progress along the way.

He asked Mason for the money, but Mason has so far refused to pay up, alleging that the challenge was a joke or hyperbole. 

Kolodziej doesn't think it's very funny, though, and he's asked the federal district court in Houston to order Mason to make with the cash.

If you think back to your 1L contracts course, Kolodziej might actually have something along the lines of an argument here.  The dare sounds suspiciously like a unilateral contract.  A unilateral contract, you'll remember, is one that is offered to the population generally.  The offeror can't force anyone to perform, but obligates herself to meet the terms of the agreement if anyone actually does.  An offer for a reward is the best example of a unilateral contract, although dares and wagers might also qualify.

On the other hand, it's not very likely that Mason intended for anyone to take him seriously, so a judge might not really consider his statement a unilateral contract.  Without knowing more about Texas contract law, I'd wager that the judge will toss the case, save Mason a million clams and give Kolodziej a lesson in real world contracts.

Mason just better hope that the judge in the murder trial doesn't allow the prosecution to admit Kolodziej's video into evidence.

See Also:
Attorney sued over dare (UPI)
Dateline dare may prove costly for Orlando attorney (WDBO)
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