Intention to be Bound – may be enforced without intent to be bound if there is sufficient expression of commitment to perform
Ray v. William G. Eurice & Bros. Inc. (1952) – Ray contracted Eurice to construct a house of certain specs. Eunice signed a contract to build, understanding one set of specifications and claimed he wouldn’t have signed it otherwise. Even though there was not a ‘meeting of the minds’, Eurice was responsible for their agreement to perform b/c they could have reasonably understood the terms. There was intent to perform. Court must judge objectively.
Park 100 Investors v. Kartes (1995) – Kartes signed a lease agreement that included in it a personal guarantee to cover the lease payments. However the lease agreement was signed only through Parks fraudulent misrepresentation by never telling the Kartes what they were actually signing and hurrying them to do so.
Hamer v. Sidway (1891) – An uncle promised to pay his nephew $5000 if he refrained from drinking, tobacco, swearing, playing cards and billiards for money until he was 21. He did so and wrote his uncle notifying him and his uncle replied that the money was his but he will hold it and pay him with interest at a later date. The executrix contends it was without consideration and therefore invalid contract. Consideration doesn’t have to benefit the promisor it may just as well detriment the promisee. Contract was valid.
Baehr v. Penn-O-Tex Oil Corp. (1960) – Defendant, taking business over from a debtor, promised to pay rents to plaintiff. A promise is only legally enforceable as a contract though. Plaintiff contends that his agreement not to sue was consideration for defendants promise to pay. Court found that there is no evidence the defendant sought forbearance in return for payments. Contract invalid.
Dougherty v. Salt (1919) – A woman wrote a note to nephew for $3,000 promised to her nephew for being such a good boy. Gifts do not qualify as a contract, no consideration.
Bastsakis v. Demotsis (1949) – During WWII, on Greek resident loaned the other $25 in promise for future payment of $2000. Defendant argues that the consideration was so inadequate that it was invalid. Court says that any consideration is enough, it is not the courts duty to judge the adequacy of consideration, its up to the contractors to decide what is worth what.
Plowman v. Indian Refining Co. (1937) – Employees who were being laid off were promised half pay for their lives b/c of their many years of service. After a yea
ease in price to maintain production. They agreed to another 30% increase but after last shipment refused to pay the difference. Sued to drop the difference in debt claiming contract was made under duress. Court found contract was under duress, nature of industry forced plaintiff to succumb to defendants demands
Uniform Commercial Code (UCC) – applies only to sale of goods
– does not apply to real estate contracts
– some principles have infiltrated general contract by way of analogy
– often altered traditional contract law rules
Promissory Estoppel – most significant reform, re-writes consideration doctrine
– in absence of a bargain, one person’s reliance on a promise replaces consideration and prevents the party that induced the promise from backing out as unenforceable
Promises within the family
Kirksey v. Kirksey (1845) – π was wife of Δ’s dead brother. Δ invited π to live on his land and promised her a place until the children were raised. She abandoned her home