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Messages - joshdelight

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Current Law Students / Re: Detrimental Reliance Hypo
« on: November 11, 2004, 04:22:33 PM »
An interesting case of (possible) Detrimental Reliance:

Look at item 15...  Detrimental Reliance?

Absolutely worth hearing... although I hate to say as much :)

I'm interested to know what you thought of the language of the complaint.  It was very systematic, and it certainly answered as to all of the elements required for all of the c.o.a.'s it asserts. In fact, it seemed like the author was working straight of the R2T with a little Cali jurisdictional twist.

Current Law Students / Re: Detrimental Reliance Hypo
« on: November 11, 2004, 09:39:41 AM »
I don't think it changes the hypo at all.  However, it does provide additional information for analysis (although I am not familiar with the concept "Dean Prosser" mentioned - (btw "Dean Prosser" - imagine how confusing your screenname would be if we were discussing a torts hypo :) ).

I tend to agree, jeffjoe, that the hypo is short on facts and open for interpretation.  My analysis depends on an inference that she relied based on the fact that she knew of the promise and with that knowledge acted in a manner consistent with the promise. Additionally, operating on the assumption that she is making this claim in court, it is doubtful that she'd make the claim if it had no merit whatsoever.  Ultimately, though, these still are inferences and open for debate.

AS a side note that I should probably post as an original topic, isn't it funny that contracts discussions dominate the general board as far as analysis is concerned? It'd be great to discuss more torts or (gasp!) criminal law, or property.  There's got to be tons of great hypos out there dealing with determining the state of title that we're just itching to consider... 

Current Law Students / Re: Detrimental Reliance Hypo
« on: November 11, 2004, 05:46:12 AM »
When discussing this hypo, you also must consider that this *is* a family relationship, which may make the plaintif niece prove up that she completely, expressly, impliedly, concurrently, concomitantly, relied on her uncle's promise for an estoppel theory. 

Sidenote:  The courts are divided as to recovery if she visited France.

Dean Prosser to the rescue ;)

Thanks for the support.  Quite a helpful and salient piece of information.

Current Law Students / Re: Detrimental Reliance Hypo
« on: November 10, 2004, 09:39:33 PM »
The official comments in the RESTATEMENT (SECOND) CONTRACTS sect. 90 has some good information on injustice.

Current Law Students / Re: Detrimental Reliance Hypo
« on: November 10, 2004, 08:59:18 PM »
Sorry if I sounded like I had a attitude in the last post.  It's been a long week.  

I think that it would be reasonable for the court to find that she took the vacation in reliance on the promise.  Possible testimony of niece: "I mean, just out of law school, about $100k in debt--but, thank God, Uncle Warbucks promised me $10,000 for a vacation, and gee whiz, did I need it!"

Current Law Students / Re: Detrimental Reliance Hypo
« on: November 10, 2004, 08:50:52 PM »
You don't need a bargained away "detriment" for promissory estoppel.
In any case there's no need for detriment in promissory esoppel.

First of all, I didn't say "bargained away 'detriment,'" I said detriment. A detriment does not require a bargain. I have no idea how you are defining "detriment," but if "an act or forbearance" induced by a promise isn't a detriment, then what the hell is?

Additionally, a detriment can also have beneficial effects for the promisee. Reverting to consideration-validated Ks: "I'll give you $10,000 to have sex with this woman." You have sex with that woman, she's hot, and you are hetero.  You loved the sex, but, guess what folks, in the eyes of the law, it's a friggin' detriment.  You gave up your time to pay your taxes or walk around the block or whatever you usually do on a Wednesday night to screw this woman. It was a forbearance of your ability to do other things induced by an offer.

The only reason we refer to promissory estoppel as such is tradition and homage to Williston, who most likely coined the term. Williston on Contracts, Rev. Ed., Sec. 139, Vol. 1.  "Detrimental reliance" is a much more descriptive and appropriate designation for the concept. 

IF SHE ACTED in substantial and definite reliance on the promise, and the promise was one that the promisor could have reasonably expected to induce action on her part, then YES, it would be injustice for her to pay for her vacation.

Current Law Students / Re: Detrimental Reliance Hypo
« on: November 10, 2004, 08:14:52 PM »
Even without receipts, the cost of the trip can be determined with some accuracy.  At the least the figure $10,000 could be used.

But what about this question?  Was it really to her detriment?  She had a nice vacation that she will have to pay for herself.  Just like most other people.  So where's the detriment?

Good points.  Regarding the costs - I don't think the court would use the $10,000 figure unless the evidence reasonably demonstrated that in relying upon her uncle's promise, she incurred expenses close to that amount.  I am not sure if you meant that the $10k could be used as a basis for determining her costs or that it could be used to determine the damages she's due (if she's due them).  To award the niece $10,000 absent evidence showing her spending close to that amount in reliance would be to award an expectation interest.  If the uncle's promise was supported by consideration, that'd be fine, but it's not, so they can only award damages for her reliance. Granted, the information in this hypo is lacking; I am operating on the assumption that the value of her reliance cannot be determined because she did not document her expenditures for an international vacation.

The detriment is her going on a vacation when she did not have to go on vacation; she could have spent time volunteering in Gambia, but she got a sweet promise from her unk that she chose to act upon. The plaintiff would argue that since she knew of the promise and acted in reliance on the promise, that the act itself was a detriment. With detrimental reliance, it is only required that the promise must induce the detriment.

Current Law Students / Detrimental Reliance Hypo
« on: November 10, 2004, 07:46:48 PM »
...Or "promissory estoppel," if you prefer.  :)  Either way, it's bound to generate some discussion.
A wealthy uncle promises to pay $10,000 to his niece upon her completion of the bar examination so that she may have a fine vacation.  After the bar, the niece travels throughout Europe and has a wonderful time.  She has not kept an account of her expenditures.  The uncle refuses to pay.  What is the niece's recovery?

Okay... this case calls for analysis using theory of detrimental reliance.  Therefore our rule is: a promise which the promisor should reasonably expect to induce action on the part of the promisee and does in fact induce such action is binding if injustice can be avoided only by enforcement of the promise.  The remedy granted for breach may be limited as justice requires.

So, I see (1) a promise that is pretty damn sweet, and the uncle should reasonably expect the niece to act on it. (2) The niece did act on the promise, and had herself a fine vacation. (3) I am not so sure that injustice can be avoided only by enforcing the promise, as the niece's reliance was substantial in nature but because she did not keep records of her expenditures, there is a serious problem with how definite her reliance on his promise was. She might have spent $1000 for a European vacation package. Absent a reason to do otherwise, courts utilizing a detrimental reliance theory will generally only award reliance damages.  As she did not keep records, these damages are not determinable, and therefore, the uncle should prevail.

Tell me I'm wrong... I dare ya!  ;)

Current Law Students / Re: Funny Contract Hypo...
« on: November 08, 2004, 01:44:57 PM »
Here is why it may be tricky:  From a reasonable offeree (Mary is now the offeree) position, the offer is ambiguous, thus indifferent, meaning *Mary* can accept either by promise or performance.  Common Law would presume Bilateral, Modern Law would presume either.  With that, Mary could bring a defense that she was accepting the ambiguous offer through performance, and Jane did not perform and thus, she rejected the offer when she sold the car to someone else.  However, this is a big reverse because Jane is the one who would commence performance, not Mary, the offeree!  Anyway, just trying to analyze from a different angle.  Yes, a bi K is the strong  argument, but to me,  it's not that obvious...
The problem I see with this analysis is indeed the "big reverse."  Under UCC 2-206(1)(a), "unless unambiguously indicated by the language or circumstances an offer to make a contract shall be construed as inviting acceptance in any manner and by any medium reasonable in the circumstances."  Given that the offer was by the buyer Jane, the power of acceptance is of course in Mary, the seller. 

If we assume, for the moment, that the exchange of promises over the phone did not execute a K, then Mary the seller-offeree would accept by performance.  Performance in this case has all of jack-squat to do with Jane! Mary's acceptance by performance would be Mary's being available for Jane to tender payment and to make the car accessible for Jane to pick it up. In this scenario, Mary could tell Jane--"no deal," even if Jane showed up on her doorstep with money in hand and said to Mary "I am tendering payment."

Now, the question is how Jane's offer could be accepted.  The language of the offer did not express a specific manner of acceptance. If the circumstances made the offer ambiguous, then any reasonable manner of acceptance is possible. The circumstances indicated that Jane's offer could be accepted, as in fact it was, by Mary's verbal assent to Jane's offer; this is a reasonable manner of acceptance all things considered.  We've established that a promise can be consideration if performance of the promise is consideration, so in my mind, there is no question that there was a bilateral K that formed at the moment "Mary agrees."  If Jane bailed, then Jane would be responsible for any reasonably determinable damages that resulted from her breach, and vice versa for Mary.

Have we resolved this hypo yet?  You be the judge  ;)

Current Law Students / Re: first-time applicant seeking advice
« on: November 08, 2004, 10:23:45 AM »
2) Work experience usually becomes a consideration only if the applicant has been out of school for a significant legth of time.

Thanks, I needed qualification... plus, one'd have to have to have been out of school to gain any substantial work experience. (Unless, of course, you were a Presidential intern or something cool like that...)

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