Enforcement of Settlement • Offer and Acceptance • Counteroffer

Food Line Mgmt. t/a Port Richmond Thriftway v. Dollar Tree Stores, PICS Case No. 14-0033 (C.P. Philadelphia, July 11, 2013) Glazer, J. (6 pages).

Defendant Dollar Tree Stores petitioned to enforce settlement arguing communications exchanged between counsel constituted a settlement offer, containing conditions and terms not found in the original offer. Dollar Tree’s petition was denied as Dollar Tree’s reply amounted to a counteroffer and rejection of Thirftway’s offer.

Plaintiff Food Line Management t/a Port Richmond Thriftway emailed a settlement offer containing four stipulations to Dollar Tree in April 2013 in an effort to settle all claims and counterclaims regarding the sale and display of particular food groups and acceptance of SNAP food benefits. In turn, Dollar Tree responded via email in May 2013 as to an agreement regarding all but the SNAP food benefits provision.

Dollar Tree argued that its email indicating acceptance of the three provisions constituted an acceptance and settlement. The court argued it must look to the language of the replay to determine whether an accepted settlement offer occurred.

The court held that “a reply to an offer which purports to accept an offer, but instead changes the terms of the offer, is not an acceptance, but, rather, is a counter-offer, which has the effect of terminating the offer.” Upon review of Dollar Tree’s reply email, the language proposed new terms and conditions from Thriftway’s offer, and is therefore classified as a counteroffer rather than an acceptance. As there is no “meeting of the minds”, Dollar Tree’s petition to enforce settlement is thereby denied.