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 estoppel.

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