Jan 9, 2013

Posted in Uncategorized

Bill Maher Offered Donald Trump $5 Million for his Birth Certificate. Trump obliged. Is this offer and acceptance?

One of the first cases I remember from Contracts is Leonard v. Pepsico. In that case, an enterprising law student collected the cash equivalent of 7 million Pepsi points, and requested from Pepsi a Harrier jet. The court, of course, rejected this suit, finding that there was no actual offer made, and even if there was an offer made, no reasonable person would have thought Pepsi was offering a Harrier jet in exchange for 7,000,000 Pepsi Points.

Which brings me to this story.

On Monday’s “Tonight Show With Jay Leno,” Maher said he would donate $5 million to the charity of Trump’s choice (Maher suggested Hair Club for Men, among others) if the “Celebrity Apprentice” host could prove he is not the “spawn of his mother having sex with an orangutan.” Maher was mocking Trump’s much-publicized announcement in October that he would donate $5 million to charity if Obama would release his college records.

Donald Trump, an absolute blowhard and fool, seems to have taken Maher up on this offer. For serious.

Here is the letter Trump’s attorney sent Maher:

Dear Mr. Maher:

I represent Mr. Donald J. Trump.  I write on his behalf to accept your offer (made during the Jay Leno Show on January 7, 2013) that Mr. Trump prove he is not the “spawn of his mother having sex with an orangutan.”

Attached hereto is a copy of Mr. Trump’s birth certificate, demonstrating that he is the son of Fred Trump, not an orangutan. Please remit the $5 million to Mr. Trump immediately and he will ensure that the money be donated to the following five charities in equal amounts: Hurricane Sandy Victims, The Police Athletic League, The American Cancer Society, The March of Dimes, and The Dana-Farber Cancer Institute.


Scott S. Balber

It seems that Trump is represented by Scott Balber, the head of financial services litigation at Cooley New York, so this is legit.

So, was Maher’s statement a valid offer? If so, was it an offer that a reasonable person would think was legitimate? Mind you, let’s talk about the reasonable person standard, and not the ridiculous Donald Trump standard, as Donald routinely offers people millions of dollars for birth certificates. Also, is it that outlandish to think that Trump in fact is the “spawn of his mother having sex with an orangutan”?

I can’t wait to see if Trump files suit against Maher over this.

H/T Will S.

Update: It looks like Trump is going to sue if Maher doesn’t pay up.

 “He made an absolute offer. I made an absolute acceptance. I showed him documentation, and he owes me $5 million, which I’m going to give to charities,” Trump said. “Let’s see what happens, and if he doesn’t give me the money, we’ll probably sue him.”

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  • Riddle me this

    Is the reasonable person standard the correct standard when Maher made the offer to Trump and knew or should have known that Donald Trump follows the Donald Trump standard?

  • Ateaist

    Note that he only provided a copy of the birth certificate, which according to the Donald Trump standard is not adequate proof of birth. Thus, by his own standards, he did not accept the contract as he failed to provide the original, long form certificate.

  • Ah, good old Leonard v. Pepsico. One of my favorite cases from 1L.

    I understand how somebody like Trump could take this offer seriously, but the head of financial services litigation should know better. Cooley should be embarrassed to put their name on something this frivolous.

  • scamp1212

    Yes it is a contract – a unilateral contract that is binding once performance is complete. Trump was required to provide a copy of his birth certificate which he did. Performance is completed. Contracted is accepted. Money is owed.

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