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University of Florida School of Law
Zheng, Wentong

Zheng, Wentong / Contracts / Fall 2015
1.   Part 1: Bases for Enforcing promises
2.   Consideration
3.   Hamer v. Sidway
·         Forbearance (even detrimental) is sufficient consideration.
·         Nephew gave away the right to smoke, drink, etc. until he was 21 in exchange for $5000.
·         Uncle clearly sought acceptance by performance.
4.   feinberg v. pfeiffer co.
·         Past performance is not valid consideration.
·         A gratuitous promise is enforceable is the promisee justifiably relies on the promise.
·         Feinberg would not have quit job if she had known and relied on $200 monthly payments. She relied on the payments. Contract formed under promissory estoppel.
5.   mills v. wyman
·         Past consideration not sufficient to make a promise enforceable.
·         Moral obligation not sufficient consideration under these facts.
·         Father’s promise to P was not made with consideration. Son had already died and father did not request such expenditures.
6.   webb v. mcgowin
·         Moral consideration can create an enforceable promise if the promisor has received a material benefit constituting a valid consideration for his promise.
·         When promisee cares for, improves and preserves property of promisor, even without request to do so, it is sufficient consideration for the subsequent agreement to pay for the service because of the material benefit received directly by the party.
·         P saved D from death or GBH = material benefit.
·         D promised lifelong payments after receiving the benefit of not getting hit by beam.
·         This is a minority holding.
7.   harrington v. taylor
·         Past consideration does not qualify as valid consideration sufficient to create a valid contract.
·         D’s promise to pay for medical expenses resulting from saving D from getting hit by an axe by his wife did not have consideration. Contract thus unenforceable.
·         Conflict with Webb v. McGowin.
8.   Kirksey v. kirksey
·         Gratuitous promise is not enforceable even if a party has reasonably relied on that promise and has suffered loss and inconvenience.
·         D’s promise of a place to live was a gratuitous promise and P’s loss and inconvenience were not sufficient consideration.
·         Dissent says there was sufficient consideration.
9.   strong v. sheffield
·         A promise is illusory if one party’s performance of that promise is entirely at the option of that party.
·         In order to be enforceable a contract must be supported by consideration. In order to serve as valid consideration, forbearance must be either absolute or for a definite time, or for a reasonable time. Forbearance for a little, or for some time, is not sufficient. The only qualification is that in the absence of a specified time a reasonable time is deemed to have been intended.
·         D did not receive any consideration for promising her husband’s debt. P only said “I will hold until such time as I want my money, I will make a demand on you for it.” This was indefinite.
10.        mattei v. hopper
·         If the agreement leaves one party free to perform or to withdraw from the agreement at his own unrestricted pleasure, the promise is illusory and lacks consideration.
·         Mutuality of obligation exists when both parties have assumed some legal obligation.
·         Personal satisfaction does not necessarily render contract illusory.
o   Must be show to be “good faith” satisfaction.
o   Cannot b

o existence.
14.        Reliance
·         Promissory estoppel: The promisee has relied upon the conduct of the promisor and has received a detriment because of the promisor’s breaking his promise. Legal theory aspect of this is that the court will deny that there is a legal contract, but the court will enforce the outcome anyway to prevent injustice.
·         Difference between Restatement 1st and 2nd: the 2nd removes “definite and substantial character” and just required that the reliance was reasonable. Also, the 2nd allowed that damages may be limited as justice requires. The difference between the two is the approach. The 2nd allows for partial reliance (partial recovery). 1st allows for an all or nothing approach.
o   2nd Restatement also states that charitable donations and marriage settlements are binding without proof that the promise induced action or forbearance.
·         Charitable donations are different from regular promises. Courts have been trying to address this issue because there is no consideration in promising money to a charity. Some courts have been saying there actually is consideration because the charity has to do something in order to receive the donation (Cardozo ruling contained in Feinberg case). Cardozo said in dictum in this same case that promissory estoppel is equivalent to consideration in cases of charitable donations.
15.        Ricketts v. scothorn