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George Mason School of Law

George Mason School of Law

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George Mason School of Law

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  1. George Mason School of Law Contracts I Promissory Estoppel F.H. Buckley fbuckley@gmu.edu

  2. Estoppel • Estoppel by representation of fact • Promissory estoppel

  3. Estoppel: An Ideological Battle? Samuel Williston Arthur Corbin Oliver Wendell Holmes

  4. Promisory Estoppel and RelianceA sword, not a Shield

  5. Ricketts v. Scothorn • I assume you were as distressed as I was at this example of male chauvinism…

  6. Ricketts v. Scothorn • Was there consideration given by Katie for the promise? • What was the reliance?

  7. George Mason School of Law Contracts I Promissory Estoppel F.H. Buckley fbuckley@gmu.edu

  8. Exam • Writing by laptop • Four questions, Two hours…

  9. What kind of reliance is needed? • Suppose I promise you $1,000,000 and, believing me, you purchase a new car. I renege. • Have you relied? • And would this ground a remedy?

  10. What kind of reliance is needed? • Suppose I promise you $1,000,000 and, believing me, you feel overjoyed. • Have you relied?

  11. Psychic Reliance What happens when the cheque bounces tomorrow… Happy, Happy, Joy, Joy

  12. What kind of reliance is needed? • Suppose I promise you $1,000,000, and have no intention of performing, but think it would be amusing to fool you.

  13. Haase v. Cardoza • Was the promise supported by consideration?

  14. Haase v. Cardoza • Was the promise supported by consideration? • What about reliance?

  15. Haase v. Cardoza • What about reliance? • The former restatement provided for no relief unless the reliance was “definite and substantial.” • What is the effect of the change?

  16. Haase v. Cardoza • What about reliance? • Present Restatement § 90 conditions relief: “injustice can be avoided only by enforcement.” • What does that mean?

  17. Wright v. Newman (p. 160) • How would you decide this? • What was the reliance?

  18. Why might a promisor want to incur legal liability?

  19. Why might a promisor want to incur legal liability? • And why might he not? • In a case such as Haase…

  20. Why might a promisor want to incur legal liability? • And why might he not? • Cf. Ricketts

  21. Why might a promisor want to incur legal liability? • And why might he not? • Cf. Ricketts • How would you expect promisors to react, in an interfamily setting, if all promises were enforceable.

  22. Why might a promisor want to incur legal liability? • And why might he not? • How would you expect promisors to react, in an interfamily setting, if all promises were enforceable. • Fewer promises • Conditional promises

  23. Why might a promisor want to incur legal liability? • And why might he not? • Might promisees sometimes be better off if family promises are not enforceable?

  24. The Employment Context • Feinberg v. Pfeiffer • What was the promise and why was it made?

  25. The Employment Context • Feinberg v. Pfeiffer • What was the promise and why was it made? • What was the reliance?

  26. The Employment Context • Feinberg v. Pfeiffer • What was the promise and why was it made? • What was the reliance? • What it relevant that she discovered she had cancer?

  27. Why a different result in Hayes?

  28. Why a different result in Hayes? • Feinberg retired after the promise; Hayes decided to retire before the promise, and retired a week after it was made • No formal provision, no board resolution

  29. Why a different result in Hayes? • Did Hayes have a bad lawyer?

  30. Why a different result in Hayes? • Did the promisors intend to assume legal liability in this case? In Feinberg?

  31. Chartiable Subscriptions • Salsbury v. Northwestern Bell • Charles City College operated from 1967 to 1968. It welcomed unconventional students who had not seen success at other colleges. It [was] also attended by a substantial number of young men seeking draft deferments that would allow them to avoid military service during the Vietnam War. (Wikipedia)

  32. Chartiable Subscriptions • You and I meet and agree that we will both donate $5,000 to a college • Consideration?

  33. Chartiable Subscriptions • I pledge $1,000,000 to a college which promises to name a building after me • Consideration? Allegheny College Allegheny College

  34. Chartiable Subscriptions • Salsbury v. Northwestern Bell • Did Salsbury rely on the subscription? • Restatement § 90(2)

  35. Chartiable Subscriptions • Salsbury v. Northwestern Bell • Are you satisfied with the rationale?

  36. Charitable Subscriptions • Can you reconcile Salsbury with DeLeo?

  37. Charitable Subscriptions • Can you reconcile Salsbury with DeLeo? • Illness • Fiduciary relationship • Oral promise • Storage room?

  38. Charitable Subscriptions • Should such promises automatically be binding? • Is that what 90(2) requires? • Comment f

  39. Charitable Subscriptions • Why so few such cases?

  40. The Material Benefits Rule • Webb v. McGowin p. 191 W.T. Smith Lumber Co., Chapman AL

  41. The Material Benefits Rule • Webb v. McGowin J. Greeley McGowin

  42. The Material Benefits Rule • Webb v. McGowin • Recall Bailey v. West • Is Webb a suitable case for relief in quasi-contract?

  43. The Material Benefits Rule • Webb v. McGowin • Recall Bailey v. West • Is Webb a suitable case for relief in quasi-contract? • What did the promise add?

  44. The Material Benefits Rule • Webb v. McGowin • Treat this as a contracts case. Is there a consideration problem?

  45. The Material Benefits Rule • Webb v. McGowin • Treat this as a contracts case. Is there a consideration problem? • The past consideration rule

  46. The Material Benefits Rule • Webb v. McGowin • Treat this as a contracts case. Is there a consideration problem? • The past consideration rule • The material benefits rule: • Restatement § 86

  47. The Material Benefits Rule • Webb v. McGowin • Can you distinguish it from Mills v. Wyman: p.192?

  48. The Material Benefits Rule • Webb v. McGowin • Can you distinguish it from Mills v. Wyman? • What about Boothe v. Fitzpatrick (p. 198)

  49. The Material Benefits Rule • Previously binding promises • Restatement § 82 • Statute of Limitations • Restatement § 83 • Debt discharged in bankruptcy • Restatement § 85 • Voidable duties

  50. The Material Benefits Rule • Pitching ideas: Desny v. Wilder p. 193