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Pierce v. The Clarion Ledger

    Brief Fact Summary.

    Pierce sued The Clarion Ledger for breach of contract when a reporter published information without verification violating a promise.

    Synopsis of Rule of Law.

    Moral obligations do not create express or implied contractual duties.

    Facts.

    Pierce, an officer for the Mississippi Bureau of Narcotics, arranged an airplane to be used by a Senator for personal use. The Clarion Ledger (Defendant) obtained this information and promised not to publish it until the information was verified. The Clarion Ledger published the information without verification and Pierce sued. The Defendant filed a motion for summary judgment.

    Issue.

    Whether moral obligations create express or implied contractual duties?

    Held.

    No. The motion for summary judgment is granted. The reporter’s promise to keep the information confidential did not create a legally binding contract because the promise was a moral obligation.

    Discussion.

    There can be no breach of contract when a moral obligation exists because moral obligations do not create contractual duties.


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