...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!