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Author Topic: Detrimental Reliance Hypo  (Read 4203 times)

joshdelight

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Re: Detrimental Reliance Hypo
« Reply #10 on: November 10, 2004, 11:50:52 PM »
You don't need a bargained away "detriment" for promissory estoppel.
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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.
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jeffjoe

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Re: Detrimental Reliance Hypo
« Reply #11 on: November 10, 2004, 11:56:18 PM »
Do you honestly expect a court to rule that it is an injustice that a person pay for their own vacation?  Reverse the roles.  What would you rule?  Remember the law says that promissory estoppel applies only when there is no other way to avoid injustice.  Expecting a person to pay their own way is not an injustice.

Look at the promissory estoppel cases.  The injustice in those is usually that the P gave up something. 
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joshdelight

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Re: Detrimental Reliance Hypo
« Reply #12 on: November 10, 2004, 11:59:18 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!"
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camelbx

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Re: Detrimental Reliance Hypo
« Reply #13 on: November 10, 2004, 11:59:38 PM »
Yeah, ok, here:

You don't need to bargain away a "benefit" in promissory estoppel, there's no bargain at all. I was just telling jeff that there is no need for his "detriment test" in PE questions.

I think detriment/benefit got confused up there between "contract-benefit" and "actual-benefit" ... in any case... blah...

Promissory estoppel is not a bargained for exchange thats an agreement with consideration.

Repeat this to yourself over and over again.

Don't think about "injustice" the way you normally do, think about it in relation to the reliance, NOT whether or not it was detrimental to anyone.

jeffjoe

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Re: Detrimental Reliance Hypo
« Reply #14 on: November 11, 2004, 12:06:18 AM »
Stipulating that she might be greatly in debt and in need of a vaction, underatanding that injustice does not always mean the same thing in court that it does outside the court,
I seriously doubt that a court will rule that she suffered an injustice in having to pay for her own vacation.  Not with the set of facts offered here.

If she mortgaged her house to have the money up front and then she lost it when she couldn't pay it off.

If she lost a lucrative job because she took the vaction instead of going right to work.

But because she had a good time and paid for it herself?  At some point, a judge is going to say that on the face of it there is no injustice and therefore promissory estoppel does not apply. 

I think you're bootstrapping the last element of promissory estoppel.  she relied on the promise and the uncle induced her to take a vacation.  OK , that's the first part of it.  But those two elements do not an injustice make.
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joshdelight

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Re: Detrimental Reliance Hypo
« Reply #15 on: November 11, 2004, 12:39:33 AM »
The official comments in the RESTATEMENT (SECOND) CONTRACTS sect. 90 has some good information on injustice.
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jeffjoe

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Re: Detrimental Reliance Hypo
« Reply #16 on: November 11, 2004, 12:48:36 AM »
Actually, it points to other sections for discussion of injustice. 

I seem to remember reading or hearing from prof. that the restatement does not define injustice, prefering to leave it to the courts.

But as to section 90, proving the first two elements does not prove injustice.  The section recognizes that you meet the first two requirements and still have other ways to avoid injustice, if injustice exists.
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Dean Prosser

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Re: Detrimental Reliance Hypo
« Reply #17 on: November 11, 2004, 02:03:02 AM »
Calamari and Perillo on Contracts - 5th edition - page 258 - Promissory Estoppel

(a) Promises in the family
"In Devecmon v. Shaw, an uncle promised his nephew that, if the nephew would take a trip to Europe, the uncle would reimburse the nephew's expenses.  The nephew made the trip but the uncle died and his executor refused to make payment.  The court concluded that the uncle's promise was supported by consideration.  Surely there was detriment, but the court did not consider whether the detriment was bargained for in exchange for the promise."


Dean Prosser

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Re: Detrimental Reliance Hypo
« Reply #18 on: November 11, 2004, 02:13:55 AM »
Sorry, last post was inconclusive... the text further says:

"Recognition of the doctrine of promissory estoppel as an independent ground for enforcing intrafamily promises can lead to a profitable reexamination of many similar cases decided on grounds of consideration."

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.


joshdelight

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Re: Detrimental Reliance Hypo
« Reply #19 on: November 11, 2004, 08:46:12 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.
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