Select Page

Contracts
St. Louis University School of Law
Nelson, Camille A.

CONTRACTS I OUTLINE, FALL 2007

THREE PRINCIPLES OF CONTRACT LAW
Coolidge v. Pua’aiki & Kea:

Mutuality through agency (P’s wife acting as manager of plantation)
Lack of certainty/definiteness not fatal to K because of context of civil code.

BARGAIN PRINCIPLE
Agreement to exchange one thing for another gives rise to mutual obligations
A deal is a deal.
Damages = distributive: meet terms of K.
Kirksey v. Kirksey:
· Insufficient consideration because there was no mutuality.
· Possible detriment, but promise considered “mere gratuity.”
o Not an arm’s length (market) transaction.
DETRIMENTAL RELIANCE
Both common and socially valuable—indication of trust or of little power/resources.
But it must be reasonable in order to be protected.
Damages = corrective: compensate for injury.
Ricketts v. Scothorn:
· Insufficient consideration because there was no mutuality.
· Promise was a “mere gratuity,” but still enforceable under reliance because detriment was incurred upon faith that promise would be fulfilled.
o Applies equitable estoppel to the promise to find K under reliance.
· Promise was far more specific than in Kirksey and D showed greater intention to be bound.
RESTITUTION/UNJUST ENRICHMENT
One must restore any benefit unjustly retained–features the explicitly moral idea of duty.
Damages = corrective.
Contract Implied in Law (Quasi-Contract)
Sceva v. True:
· D has legal duty and resulting K implied in law even though she lacks capacity to bargain (no meeting of the minds is necessary).
· P can only recover if he acted in good faith and with the expectation that he would be repaid.
Bailey v. West:
· Bailey was a mere volunteer. He acted officiously in car

laced in the position of the recipient of the communication (job, employment history, contextual knowledge/concerns)
Social Identity Test: Socially situated person with the same identity—not merely the same position (broad similarity with actual party).
Embry v. Hargadine:
· Reasonable person would have interpreted D’s comments as a K renewal.
· Intent to be objectively determined by words and actions
(subjective lack of intent on part of D not enough to defeat K)
United Steelworkers v. U.S. Steel:
· Court adopts perspective of similarly positioned reasonable person.
· D’s remarks must be considered in context.
No reasonable reliance—statements did not constitute a promise.