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LegalGround >> Promissory Estoppel?


12/12/08 11:58 PM
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cycklops
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Can anyone give me a basic, 6th grade level, definition of what this is?
12/13/08 9:12 PM
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jbapk
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It prevents a party from withdrawing a promise if the other party relied on that promise to their detriment.
12/15/08 12:20 AM
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Shaz
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That's kind of high school.

Here's the sixth grade version.

You put your car up for sale. I tell you I'm going to buy the car and I'm going to come to your house with the money in two days. You say, OK great, I'll take down the listing and reject any other offers that come in. In two days I say, never mind I don't want the car, too bad you rejected some other offers. You sue me, claiming promissory estoppel, that I made a promise to buy the car knowing that you would rely on it to your detriment (rejecting other offers, withdrawing an ad, etc.) I will likely be required to pay you damages now.

-Shaz!
12/15/08 12:01 PM
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Fake Pie
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It is only used if a contract theory won't work, right? I just took the bar I should remember...

But for example, in Shaz's example, if the car cost over 500 bucks and since he didn't have a writing, there is no valid contract. Thus he sues for reliance damages (PE) instead of actual contract damages (the benefit of the bargain).

Or am I all messed up?
12/15/08 1:04 PM
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seg
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 As I recall, it is an equitable argument you can use if there is no contractual remedy.

I think Shaz' example sums it up well for an overview.
12/15/08 1:08 PM
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Fake Pie
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" As I recall, it is an equitable argument you can use if there is no contractual remedy."

That is what I remembered as well.
12/15/08 5:54 PM
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goku
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doesnt the reliance have to be reasonable as well
12/15/08 6:17 PM
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seg
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 ^yes
12/16/08 12:09 AM
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Shaz
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Good memories... I used to LOVE contracts class, I took it first semester and it was the first class where everything "clicked" where I finally started to understand the cases I was reading. I was all like, "I'm totally going to become a contracts attorney", and then next semester I completely forgot all about it, relearned it for the bar exam, and then promptly forgot it all again. All I remember is promissory estoppel, and "Offer, Acceptance, Consideration".

And something about a meeting of the minds, and the two ships Peerless.

Actually, my very first civil case that almost went to trial was a contracts case. Two brothers-in-law were BIG TIME lottery players (hundreds of dollars a week, in various "lottery clubs" and such), they're in a bar and decide to enter into an agreement that if one of them wins the lottery, the other will get $50,000 of each million. They actually write this out (in Spanish, no less) on teh back of a receipt. They then go home and the sister/wife types it out and they sign again, and she signs as a witness.

Fast forward 7 years or so, and guess what happens? One of them hit the lottery for $2 million. And of course, won't pay a dime. Here comes the lawsuit, my firm represented the guy who didn't get paid. I actually picked a jury and was ready to start the trial when the judge strongly encouraged a settlement, which we got.

-Shaz!

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