Contracts - wheres the forest?

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JazzOne
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Re: Contracts - wheres the forest?

Postby JazzOne » Thu Nov 18, 2010 2:19 am

jdubb990 wrote:My notes say Promissory estoppel is only enforced in rare circumstances. Is this true? Seems like many agreements between parties in the real world could end up being enforced with P.E..

In general, courts are very reluctant to create a contract when the parties could not agree to an enforceable bargain. A court is not going to enforce an implied contract unless the equities of the situation absolutely demand it. If the plaintiff has dirty hands or was negligent or irresponsible in the negotiations, a court would probable be reluctant to justify a judgment with promissory estoppel.
Last edited by JazzOne on Thu Nov 18, 2010 11:55 am, edited 1 time in total.

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BarbellDreams
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Re: Contracts - wheres the forest?

Postby BarbellDreams » Thu Nov 18, 2010 11:27 am

jdubb990 wrote:My notes say Promissory estoppel is only enforced in rare circumstances. Is this true? Seems like many agreements between parties in the real world could end up being enforced with P.E..


Define rare. Promissory estoppel is pretty simple, its basically if you could reasonably foresee reliance by the other party on your promise that would cause them to perform some sort of action that depends on that promise and changes their position materially you're screwed (as long as your promise was clear and unambiguous. "I will give you $1000 for your birthday since I know you need it to buy your new car" can likely satisfy promissory estoppel if I run out and get that car relying that promise. "I'm gonna give you a lot of money for your birthday" doesn't satify promissory estoppel because who knows what the heck "a lot of money" means and that statement cannot make the party reasonably foresee that you will rely on it.)

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vanwinkle
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Re: Contracts - wheres the forest?

Postby vanwinkle » Thu Nov 18, 2010 12:05 pm

JazzOne wrote:
jdubb990 wrote:My notes say Promissory estoppel is only enforced in rare circumstances. Is this true? Seems like many agreements between parties in the real world could end up being enforced with P.E..

In general, courts are very reluctant to create a contract when the parties could not agree to an enforceable bargain. A court is not going to enforce an implied contract unless the equities of the situation absolutely demand it. If the plaintiff has dirty hands or was negligent or irresponsible in the negotiations, a court would probable be reluctant to justify a judgment with promissory estoppel.

This is all true, and good policy to have on hand for a promissory estoppel question. The professor was likely pointing out that in real life the stars do not often align enough for there to be no valid contract but a strong reason for equitable relief. However, I'd caution people to not mistake knowing something is rare in real life for thinking it will be rare on the exam.

Exam questions are like episodes of Law & Order: Based on things that could really happen, but with 17 of those things shoved into a single story to make it more interesting, even when most of those things might only come up once a year or less in real life.

Exams take place not in the real world but in Law & Order world (or some equivalent like "Crazy Contracts world"). The proper way to study is not to assume things that very rarely happen are unimportant or won't come up. Instead, it's to make a note that those things are rare so that if you have to, you can say "While it's rare for courts to enforce promissory estoppel, this is one of those rare situations where the equities demand it..."




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