Mills v Wyman

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					Ch.2- Enforcing Promises – Liability for Benefits Received p.147 – 10/18 Mills v Wyman Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court, 1825 20 Mass. 207 Facts: Evidentiary Facts Defendant’s son (25 y/o) was given relief by plaintiff in the form of shelter and comfort, prior to his death. The father, upon being informed of this even, influenced by a transient feeling of gratitude, promises in writing to pay the plaintiff for the expenses he had incurred. Defendant now does not wish to live up to the promise, which lacks consideration. Procedural Facts Plaintiff issues an action of assumpsit to recover a compensation for the board and nursing of defendant’s son. A nonsuit directed by the Court of Common Pleas determines there is no right to recovery by the plaintiff. Issue: Can a written promise be enforced, without consideration, to pay for the past-expenses of an adult son’s care? Holding: No. Reasoning: As a general rule, moral obligation is sufficient consideration to support an express promise. However, this rule is limited in its application to cases where at some time a good or valuable consideration has existed. There must have been some preexisting obligation to form a basis for an effective promise. There are other examples where of quid pro quo (something for nothing), which support the notion that moral obligation can be enforced without (new) consideration: in debts barred statute of limitations; debts incurred by infants; and debts of bankrupts, this debts can be reinstated by a new promise to pay after the S of L/bankruptcy, or reaching the age of majority. Otherwise, it is only when the party making the promise gains something or he to whom it is made loses something that the law gives the promise validity. Further, when a child reaches adulthood, the father is no longer responsible for his debts incurred. Judgment: Affirmed.

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Description: Briefs from 1L Contracts Class