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Contracts
Wayne State University Law School
Findlater, Janet

Contracts Outline
Consideration
Fundamentals
Covenant: once a written promise was sealed and delivered, the action of covenant was available to enforce it, it made no difference whether the promisor has bargained for or received anything in exchange for the promise
Debt: enforce some types of unsealed promises to repay money that had been loaned and a promise to pay for goods that had been delivered or for work that had been done
Assumpsit: cases in which the promisee sought to recover damages for physical injury to the person or property on the basis of a consensual undertaking
The action of assumpsit was allowed to supplant that of debt for the enforcement of promises that would previously have been enforced only in the latter action
Unilateral v Bilateral:
If the promisor is seeking and gets a promise we get a bi-lateral contract- there are 2 promises
If the promisor seeks a promise for a performance, we get a unilateral contract- there is one promise
Unilateral is a promise for a performance
Bilateral is a promise for a promise
So for example in a unilateral contract and one person doesn’t do their part, then the contract is just over- the person isn’t committed to their part until the performance is completed. But in a bilateral contract if one person does not meet their end then they are in breech of contract and has to pay damages.
Family Contracts- Typical category
Contracts:
UCC does not apply here, it’s not a transaction of goods
Consideration: not so much that one party is profiting as that the other abandons some legal right in the present or limits his legal freedom of action in the future as an inducement for the promise
Hamer v Sidway: nephew abandons use of ‘big 4’ and in return he is promised $5000. The debate is if there is consideration here and it is ruled that the nephew gave up things he had legal rights to do, so that is enough consideration. Facts: William Story, sr. (uncle) promised his nephew $5,000 if he didn’t smoke, gamble, drink, play cards, use tobacco, etc until he was 21. Nephew consented and fully performed on the conditions requested. He then wrote him a letter letting him know that he had performed his side of the bargain. The uncle says, I’ll keep and manage the money for you if that is ok. He felt that the nephew wasn’t quite ready. The Nephew agreed. Then the uncle died and he hadn’t paid it yet. Trial court entered in favor of plaintiff, and then it was reversed and granted a new trial. Is

mount of money so she will not take him to court for the money. He stops paying and it’s later discovered he is not the father of the child. Clearly though the mother thought he was and she made her claim in good faith and forbear her right to prosecute him in the first place, so he still was accountable for the promise he made
SO… Giving up your right to pursue a loser claim can still be consideration because you’re giving up the right to do something
Kirksey v. Kirksey, page 50
The brother in law offers the widow and her family a place to live and grow up if they move to his house. So the widow moves and later he wants to kick them out.
The debate with this case is whether there was consideration or if it was gratuitous for the brother-in-law to offer this and she moved as a way to accept the gift
So is it a condition for the gift? A condition is an event that has to happen for the action to follow (she has to move in order to get the gift of the brother in law taking care of her).