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University of Florida School of Law
Dawson, George L.

Professor Dawson will focus on facts of the case far more than other aspects of cases w/n casebook.

Rawls: The principle of fairness holds that a person is under an obligation to do his part as specified by the rules of an institution whenever he has voluntary accepted the benefits of the scheme or has taken advantage of the opportunities it offers to advance his interests, provided that this institution is just or fair… notion of social contract.



New York Court of Appeals, 1919
227 N.Y. 200, 125 N.E. 94
Judge Cardozo !!

Plaintiff, boy of eight, receives from aunt, the defendant’s testatrix, a promissory note for 3,000 payable at her death or before. Use was made of printed form, which contains the words “value received.” Trial court sets aside a verdict in favor of plaintiff, and dismisses the complaint. APPELATE DIVISION, in divided court, reversed the judgment of dismissal, and reinstated the verdict on the ground that the note WAS SUFFICIENT EVIDENCE of consideration.

— The FORM of the note was a critical consideration of the Supreme Court (appellate-NY) decision to reinstate the verdict, on the grounds that the promissory note had the text “value received.”

Supreme Court holds:
The inference of consideration is to be drawn from the note has been so overcome as to leave no ? for the jury. The note was the voluntary and unenforceable promise of an executory gift (Harris v. Clark, 3 NY 93; Holmes v Roper 141 N.Y. 64, 66) This child of eight was not a creditor, nor dealt with as one. The aunt was not paying a debt. Nothing is consideration that is not regarded as such by both parties. We hold, therefore that the verdict of the jury was contrary to law, and that the trial judge was right in setting it aside.


ise, there may be enforcement mechanisms available in the courts—but that person will still have broken a promise—and there are costs, often expensive, accrued in seeking legal remedy to a broken “promise.”**

** There are three restatement provisions at the bottom of this case: RESTATEMENTS 1, 17 and 71.** (sort of part of the big American mania with codifying things…. Though unlike Napolean we haven’t perfected it yet… )***

RESTATEMENT ONE: CONTRACT DEFINED—A contract is a promise or a set of promises for the breach of which the law in some way recognizes as a duty. Like promise, contract denotes the act or acts of promising. Unlike, the term “promise”, “contract” applies only to those acts which have legal effect as stated in the definition given.