equitable estoppel v. promissory estoppel

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truthypants
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equitable estoppel v. promissory estoppel

Postby truthypants » Thu Nov 26, 2009 12:01 am

if you are seeking a remedy for a breach of contract taken out of the statute of frauds, is the remedy equitable or promissory estoppel? what's the difference?

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98234872348
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Re: equitable estoppel v. promissory estoppel

Postby 98234872348 » Thu Nov 26, 2009 12:06 am

I haven't studied the statute of frauds, but, I am pretty sure that equitable estoppel is just a synonym for promissory estoppel...

06072010
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Re: equitable estoppel v. promissory estoppel

Postby 06072010 » Thu Nov 26, 2009 12:08 am

mistergoft wrote:I haven't studied the statute of frauds, but, I am pretty sure that equitable estoppel is just a synonym for promissory estoppel...



yup

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Kohinoor
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Re: equitable estoppel v. promissory estoppel

Postby Kohinoor » Thu Nov 26, 2009 12:09 am

mistergoft wrote:I haven't studied the statute of frauds, but, I am pretty sure that equitable estoppel is just a synonym for promissory estoppel...

i am of the same opinion.

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truthypants
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Re: equitable estoppel v. promissory estoppel

Postby truthypants » Thu Nov 26, 2009 12:15 am

grazie

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sweetdreams21
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Re: equitable estoppel v. promissory estoppel

Postby sweetdreams21 » Thu Nov 26, 2009 12:27 am

I don't think they are the same - promissory estoppel has to do with reliance on a clear promise - equitable estoppel involves factual misrepresentations that induce reliance.

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98234872348
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Re: equitable estoppel v. promissory estoppel

Postby 98234872348 » Thu Nov 26, 2009 12:42 am

sweetdreams21 wrote:I don't think they are the same - promissory estoppel has to do with reliance on a clear promise - equitable estoppel involves factual misrepresentations that induce reliance.

A factual misrepresentation can still be a clear promise, even if it is equivocal. "Hi, I am going to give you a million dollars if you quit your job." (sorry, I don't really have a million dollars to give).

06072010
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Re: equitable estoppel v. promissory estoppel

Postby 06072010 » Thu Nov 26, 2009 12:50 am

sweetdreams21 wrote:I don't think they are the same - promissory estoppel has to do with reliance on a clear promise - equitable estoppel involves factual misrepresentations that induce reliance.


This is "technically" true, but for most purposes it doesn't really matter. They're really just versions of the same species.

:

Promissory estoppel and equitable estoppel may be distinguished by the nature
of the representation upon which a party claims to have relied. "In the typical
equitable estoppel case, the defendant had represented an existing or past fact
to the plaintiff, who reasonably and in ignorance of the truth relied upon the
representation to his detriment." . . . Because "equitable estoppel necessarily
preclude[d] reliance on representations of present or future intention . . . the
law of promissory estoppel developed."


Shoshone Indian Tribe v. United States, 58 Fed. Cl. 542 (2003)

engineer
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Re: equitable estoppel v. promissory estoppel

Postby engineer » Thu Nov 26, 2009 3:01 am

mistergoft wrote:I haven't studied the statute of frauds, but, I am pretty sure that equitable estoppel is just a synonym for promissory estoppel...


This is incorrect.

equitable estoppel = estopping the assertion of a factual matter that induced reliance. For example, I'm a bank and I incorrectly tell you that you have $10,000 in your account. Relying on this information, you book a non-refundable vacation. The bank then approaches you and lets you know that they were incorrect in informing you of your balance and asks for the difference. If this went to court, the bank would be estopped from asserting your true bank balance.

Promissory estoppel is like this, but it's based on a promise. If I promise to pay you $10,000 and you book a vacation relying on this promise, but then I never give you the money, the courts have two ways of looking at this. They can either take the torts approach and try to put you back where you were prior to the promise, or they can look forward and put you to where you'd be relying on the promise. The "best" method is somewhere in between these two extremes.

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Learning Hand
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Re: equitable estoppel v. promissory estoppel

Postby Learning Hand » Thu Nov 26, 2009 1:32 pm

Good description.

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98234872348
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Re: equitable estoppel v. promissory estoppel

Postby 98234872348 » Thu Nov 26, 2009 1:49 pm

engineer wrote:
mistergoft wrote:I haven't studied the statute of frauds, but, I am pretty sure that equitable estoppel is just a synonym for promissory estoppel...


This is incorrect.

equitable estoppel = estopping the assertion of a factual matter that induced reliance. For example, I'm a bank and I incorrectly tell you that you have $10,000 in your account. Relying on this information, you book a non-refundable vacation. The bank then approaches you and lets you know that they were incorrect in informing you of your balance and asks for the difference. If this went to court, the bank would be estopped from asserting your true bank balance.

Promissory estoppel is like this, but it's based on a promise. If I promise to pay you $10,000 and you book a vacation relying on this promise, but then I never give you the money, the courts have two ways of looking at this. They can either take the torts approach and try to put you back where you were prior to the promise, or they can look forward and put you to where you'd be relying on the promise. The "best" method is somewhere in between these two extremes.

I haven't studied equitable estoppel in depth; we really touched in tangentially. I think, nonetheless, they are very similar, even if one is based on a fraudulent assertion and the other is based on a promise, that sort of nuance is really so technical that it isn't extremely important. They still function essentially the same way, and both are rooted in the concept of reliance.

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rayiner
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Re: equitable estoppel v. promissory estoppel

Postby rayiner » Thu Nov 26, 2009 2:01 pm

As far as I can tell, promissory estoppel started out as the application of the more general doctrine of equitable estoppel to the specific context of contracts, then evolved a bit within that context. Promissory estoppel draws some sharper lines (promises versus representations of fact) and can be the basis for an action, not just a defense. At least our casebook introduces promissory estoppel as equitable estoppel in a first-impression type case, but I think that's just to show the development of the doctrine. For an exam, it's probably best to just forget about equitable estoppel.

engineer wrote:Promissory estoppel is like this, but it's based on a promise. If I promise to pay you $10,000 and you book a vacation relying on this promise, but then I never give you the money, the courts have two ways of looking at this. They can either take the torts approach and try to put you back where you were prior to the promise, or they can look forward and put you to where you'd be relying on the promise. The "best" method is somewhere in between these two extremes.


I think it makes things more clear to just consider promissory estoppel to be two different things:

(1) An alternative to consideration. You sue for breach of contract then use promissory estoppel to keep the other party from claiming a lack of consideration.

(2) An alternative to breach of contract. You sue under promissory estoppel to keep the other party from making assertions inconsistent with its promises, even if they don't deny a lack of consideration.

Phrasing it as "two extremes" kind of muddies the issue. It's not really a continuous spectrum, but rather two alternative ways of making your claim. In the first case, if you're successful the result is as if there was a K and you can get expectation damages, etc. In the second case, you can get only equitable damages, which is basically enough to compensate you for your reliance but no more.

In your hypo, say you spent $5,000 booking a vacation in reliance on the promise. You can sue for breach of contract, estop the other party from denying lack of consideration, then collect the $10,000 (expectation damages). Or you can sue under promissory estoppel, show your $5,000 spent in reliance, then collect that. There is really no intermediate scenario where the court awards you between $5,000 and $10,000...

solidsnake
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Re: equitable estoppel v. promissory estoppel

Postby solidsnake » Thu Nov 26, 2009 2:28 pm

rayiner wrote:I think it makes things more clear to just consider promissory estoppel to be two different things:

(1) An alternative to consideration. You sue for breach of contract then use promissory estoppel to keep the other party from claiming a lack of consideration.

(2) An alternative to breach of contract. You sue under promissory estoppel to keep the other party from making assertions inconsistent with its promises, even if they don't deny a lack of consideration.



This. The second one being the reason why people say "promissory estoppel" and "equitable estoppel" are synonyms.

Papa Bear
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Re: equitable estoppel v. promissory estoppel

Postby Papa Bear » Thu Nov 26, 2009 5:30 pm

engineer wrote:equitable estoppel = estopping the assertion of a factual matter that induced reliance. For example, I'm a bank and I incorrectly tell you that you have $10,000 in your account. Relying on this information, you book a non-refundable vacation. The bank then approaches you and lets you know that they were incorrect in informing you of your balance and asks for the difference. If this went to court, the bank would be estopped from asserting your true bank balance.

Promissory estoppel is like this, but it's based on a promise. If I promise to pay you $10,000 and you book a vacation relying on this promise, but then I never give you the money, the courts have two ways of looking at this. They can either take the torts approach and try to put you back where you were prior to the promise, or they can look forward and put you to where you'd be relying on the promise. The "best" method is somewhere in between these two extremes.


This is correct, at least in Minnesota.

JD'izzle
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Re: equitable estoppel v. promissory estoppel

Postby JD'izzle » Thu Nov 26, 2009 6:01 pm

engineer wrote:
mistergoft wrote:I haven't studied the statute of frauds, but, I am pretty sure that equitable estoppel is just a synonym for promissory estoppel...


This is incorrect.

equitable estoppel = estopping the assertion of a factual matter that induced reliance. For example, I'm a bank and I incorrectly tell you that you have $10,000 in your account. Relying on this information, you book a non-refundable vacation. The bank then approaches you and lets you know that they were incorrect in informing you of your balance and asks for the difference. If this went to court, the bank would be estopped from asserting your true bank balance.

Promissory estoppel is like this, but it's based on a promise. If I promise to pay you $10,000 and you book a vacation relying on this promise, but then I never give you the money, the courts have two ways of looking at this. They can either take the torts approach and try to put you back where you were prior to the promise, or they can look forward and put you to where you'd be relying on the promise. The "best" method is somewhere in between these two extremes.


TITCR




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