Katz v. Danny Dare, Inc., 610 S.W.2d 121 (1980)

Case Name: Katz v. Danny Dare, Inc. Plaintiff/Appellant: I.G. Katz Defendant/Appellee: Danny Dare, Inc. Citation: 610 S.W.2d 121 (1980) Issue: Whether the plaintiff relied to his detriment on the promise of the defendant to pay him a pension for as long as he lived. Key Facts: Katz employed by Dare, Inc. and was the brother-in-law of the president. Katz was earning $23,000. The president continually sought for Katz to retire and eventually can to an agreement after 13 months. Dare said that it would pay Katz a $13,000 pension so long as he lived. Three years later, Dare sent a check for half the normal amount because Katz had begun working part-time and one day a week at Dare. The defendant stated that Katz would have been fired had he not elected to retire so Katz could not apply the doctrine of promissory estoppel. Procedural History: Judgment was entered in favor of the defendant. The trial court said that since Katz had the choice of accepting retirement and a pension or being fired, that it could not be said that he suffered any detriment when he elected to retire. Judgment: Reversed and remanded with directions to enter judgment in all suits in favor of Katz for the amount of unpaid pension. Reasoning: The elements of promissory estoppel are present: 1. A promise of a pension to Katz 2. His detrimental reliance on the promise (he would not have retired, he was no longer employable by the time Dare stopped paying him, and he failed to go out and obtain other employment) 3. Injustice can only be avoided by enforcing that...

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Kirksey v. Kirksey, 8 Ala. 131 (1845)

Case Name: Kirksey v. Kirksey (1845) Citation: 8 Ala. 131 (1845) Issue: Whether the defendant’s promise lacked consideration and was therefore unenforceable when he told the plaintiff, the widow of his deceased brother, to sell everything she had and come live with him and he would provide a place for her and her children. Key Facts: The plaintiff was the wife of the defendant’s brother, who is now deceased.  The defendant wrote her a letter and told her that she should sell everything and come to him and he would provide a place for her and her children to live. Within a month, the plaintiff abandoned her property and removed her family sixty miles to the defendant’s property. The defendant put her in a comfortable house and gave her land to cultivate. Subsequently, he notified her to move to an uncomfortable house in the woods and then required her to leave. Procedural History: Verdict for the plaintiff for $200. Holding: Reversed; however, the decision was written by the judge who did not agree with it. Reasoning: There was no consideration. Although the plaintiff moved a distance of sixty miles, which she contends is sufficient consideration to support the promise, the majority believed that this was a condition to a conditional gift. However, the judge writing the opinion stated that the moving to the defendant’s (60 miles) was enough to constitute consideration to support the promise. Compare this to Greiner v. Greiner in which the court enforced a similar promise without consideration through promissory...

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Greiner v. Greiner, 293 P. 759 (1930)

Case Name: Greiner v. Greiner Plaintiff: Maggie Greiner Defendant: Frank Greiner (son of Maggie) Citation: 131 Kan. 760, 293 P. 759 (1930) Issue: Whether the plaintiff’s promise can be enforced when it lacked consideration. Key Facts: The plaintiff (a widow) told her son, the defendant, that if he moved back to her county she would give him land for a home. She later gave him possession of an 80-acre tract of land which he moved his family to. The mother then commenced an action of forcible detention against the defendant. The mother contends that there was no consideration. However, the son contends that there was reliance on his mother’s promise. The defendant gave up his homestead in another county, moved, established himself and his family, made some lasting and valuable improvements and other expenditures. Procedural History: The district court ordered the plaintiff to execute a deed conveying the 80-acre tract to defendant. Plaintiff appealed. Judgment: The plaintiff should execute a deed to the defendant. Reasoning: Although there was no consideration, in 1930 the concept of promissory estoppel had been established and can be used to enforce the promise.   See also Kirksey v....

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Register.com, Inc. v. Verio, Inc., 356 F.3d 393 (2d Cir. 2004)

Case Name: Register.com, Inc. v. Verio, Inc. Plaintiff/Appellee: Register.com Defendant/Appellant: Verio, Inc. Citation: 356 F.3d 393 (2d Cir. 2004) Issue: Whether the defendant had assented and was bound by the terms of the plaintiff’s website when it was daily accessing the website through a software robot. Key Facts: The defendant created an automated software program to submit queries for WHOIS information from various registrars, including the plaintiff. The defendant then used the information to conduct solicitations by email, telemarketing, and direct mail. The plaintiff demanded the defendant to stop because some of its clients were getting upset and then changed its restrictive legend to state that it prohibited use of the WHOIS information for mass solicitation “via direct mail, electronic mail, or by telephone. The ICANN Agreement requires the registrar to permit use of its WHOIS data “for any lawful purposes except to: …support the transmission of mass unsolicited, commercial advertising or solicitations via email (spam). Register asserted that Verio was: (a) causing confusion among customers, who were led to believe Verio was affiliated with Register (b) accessing Register’s computers without authorization, a violation of the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act; and (c) trespassing on Register’s chattels in a manner likely to harm Register’s computer systems by the use of Verio’s automated robot software programs Holding:  Verio had assented and was contractually bound by the terms of use of Register’s web site because Verio had used the site many times and was well aware of Register’s restrictions on use. Where a benefit is offered, subject to stated conditions, and where the offeree takes the benefit with knowledge of the conditions, then the offeree is deemed to have accepted the...

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Ray v. William G. Eurice & Bros, Inc., 93 A. 2d 272 (1952)

Case Name: Ray v. William G. Eurice & Bros, Inc. Plaintiff: Calvin T. Ray and Katherine S. J. Ray Defendant: William G. Eurice & Bros, Inc. Citation: Maryland Court of Appeals; 201 Md. 115, 93 A. 2d 272 (1952)   Key Facts: Ray selected William G. Eurice & Bros, Inc. as the builder of a new home on a vacant lot owned by the plaintiff. Multiple meetings occurred between the plaintiff and the defendant in which they reviewed and edited the plans to build the home. A contract was submitted by the defendant to the plaintiff; however, the plaintiff did not accept this contract and had his attorney create a new contract. This new contract was submitted to the defendant and was signed by the defendant in the presence of the plaintiff. Copies of the new contract were also signed by the defendant at the bank which was providing the loan to the plaintiff for the home. Once construction was to begin on the home, the defendant claimed to have never seen the plaintiff’s contract and would not proceed in building the house with the specifications in the current contract. Procedural History: The plaintiff brought an action against the defendant, in the Circuit Court for Baltimore County, for a complete breach of a written contract to build a house. The Circuit Court ruled in favor of the defendant and the plaintiffs appealed. Issue: Whether a breach of contract exists if one party did not intend to agree to the contract yet signed the contract and had ample opportunity and ability to understand the contract. Holding: The Maryland Court of Appeals found that the defendant did breach the written contract. Reasoning: The Court believed that Eurice had the capacity to understand the written contract because of his experience in building homes. Ray was not a home builder but had extreme attention to detail due to his background as an aeronautical engineer. Therefore, there was no type of fraud or duress or unfair bargaining power. Furthermore, no mutual mistake can be proven for although Eurice may not have intended to agree to the specifications, his signature (on multiple copies of the same contract) shows that he had ample opportunity to read and understand what he was agreeing to. Judgment: The court awarded the plaintiff the cost in excess of the contract price that would be incurred by the owner in have the...

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Quake Construction, Inc. v. American Airlines, Inc., 141 Ill. 2d 281 (1990)

Case Name: Quake Construction, Inc. v. American Airlines, Inc. Plaintiff: Quake Construction, Inc. Defendant: American Airlines, Inc. and Jones Brothers Construction Corporation Citation: 141 Ill.2d 281 (1990) Issue: Whether the letter of intent from the defendant is an enforceable contract. Key Facts: The defendant received an invitation to bid on a project and submitted a bid to the defendant. The defendant notified the plaintiff that it had been awarded the contract for the project and asked for the license numbers of the subcontractors it intended to use. The plaintiff told the defendant that he could not use the license numbers until he received a signed subcontract agreement. The defendant informed Quake that he would shortly receive a written contract but to induce Quake to enter into agreements with its subcontractors, Jones sent Quake a letter of intent. At a preconstruction meeting, Jones told Quake, the subcontractors, and government officials that Quake was the GC for the project. Immediately following the meeting, American Airlines informed Quake that their involvement was terminated.  Procedural History: The trial court granted the defendant’s motion to dismiss but the Court of Appeals reversed the decision. Holding: The letter of intent may be regarded as a contract in its own right: a contract to engage in negotiations. The letter of intent was ambiguous to the parties’ intent to be bound. Judgment: The court remanded it back to the trial court to review more evidence, in addition to the LOI, on the parties’ intent. Rule: The fact that parties contemplate that a formal agreement will eventually be executed does not necessarily render prior agreements mere negotiations, where it is clear that the ultimate contract will be substantially based upon the same terms as the previous document. (Common Law)...

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