Code of the District of Columbia

§ 28:2-311. Options and cooperation respecting performance.

(1) An agreement for sale which is otherwise sufficiently definite (subsection (3) of section 28:2-204) to be a contract is not made invalid by the fact that it leaves particulars of performance to be specified by one of the parties. Any such specification must be made in good faith and within limits set by commercial reasonableness.

(2) Unless otherwise agreed specifications relating to assortment of the goods are at the buyer’s option and except as otherwise provided in subsections (1) (c) and (3) of section 28:2-319 specifications or arrangements relating to shipment are at the seller’s option.

(3) Where such specification would materially affect the other party’s performance but is not seasonably made or where one party’s cooperation is necessary to the agreed performance of the other but is not seasonably forthcoming, the other party in addition to all other remedies:

(a) is excused for any resulting delay in his own performance; and

(b) may also either proceed to perform in any reasonable manner or after the time for a material part of his own performance treat the failure to specify or to cooperate as a breach by failure to deliver or accept the goods.

(Dec. 30, 1963, 77 Stat. 647, Pub. L. 88-243, § 1.)

Prior Codifications

1981 Ed., § 28:2-311.

1973 Ed., § 28:2-311.

Section References

This section is referenced in § 28:2-319.

Uniform Commercial Code Comment

Prior Uniform Statutory Provision: None.

Purposes: 1. Subsection (1) permits the parties to leave certain detailed particulars of performance to be filled in by either of them without running the risk of having the contract invalidated for indefiniteness. The party to whom the agreement gives power to specify the missing details is required to exercise good faith and to act in accordance with commercial standards so that there is no surprise and the range of permissible variation is limited by what is commercially reasonable. The “agreement” which permits one party so to specify may be found as well in a course of dealing, usage of trade, or implication from circumstances as in explicit language used by the parties.

2. Options as to assortment of goods or shipping arrangements are specifically reserved to the buyer and seller respectively under subsection (2) where no other arrangement has been made. This section rejects the test which mechanically and without regard to usage or the purpose of the option gave the option to the party “first under a duty to move” and applies instead a standard commercial interpretation to these circumstances. The “unless otherwise agreed” provision of this subsection covers not only express terms but the background and circumstances which enter into the agreement.

3. Subsection (3) applies when the exercise of an option or cooperation by one party is necessary to or materially affects the other party’s performance, but it is not seasonably forthcoming; the subsection relieves the other party from the necessity for performance or excuses his delay in performance as the case may be. The contract-keeping party may at his option under this subsection proceed to perform in any commercially reasonable manner rather than wait. In addition to the special remedies provided, this subsection also reserves “all other remedies”. The remedy of particular importance in this connection is that provided for insecurity. Request may also be made pursuant to the obligation of good faith for a reasonable indication of the time and manner of performance for which a party is to hold himself ready.

4. The remedy provided in subsection (3) is one which does not operate in the situation which falls within the scope of Section 2-614 on substituted performance. Where the failure to cooperate results from circumstances set forth in that Section, the other party is under a duty to proffer or demand (as the case may be) substitute performance as a condition to claiming rights against the noncooperating party.

Cross References: Point 1: Sections 1-201, 2-204 and 1-203.

Point 3: Sections 1-203 and 2-609.

Point 4: Section 2-614.

Definitional Cross References: “Agreement”. Section 1-201.

“Buyer”. Section 2-103.

“Contract for sale”. Section 2-106.

“Goods”. Section 2-105.

“Party”. Section 1-201.

“Remedy”. Section 1-201.

“Seasonably”. Section 1-204.

“Seller”. Section 2-103.