Citation. 210 Md. 352, 123 A.2d 316
Law Students: Don’t know your Studybuddy Pro login? Register here
Brief Fact Summary.
P sued D for breach of contract and D asserted that because he was not the father of P’s child, his support agreement lacked a valid consideration.
Synopsis of Rule of Law.
The forbearance from asserting a good faith legal claim constitutes a valid consideration.
Fiege (P) was pregnant. P claimed that Boehm (D) was the child’s father. P gave birth to the child and P claims D acknowledged on many occasions that he is the father. P claims that before the child was born, D promised to pay P’s expenses and make $10/week support payments so long as P would not institute legal proceedings. D paid P $480 but stopped payments when blood tests revealed that he was not the father. D prevailed at a subsequent trial on the charges of bastardy by the state. P then sued to enforce the agreement for support in civil court. The jury found a verdict in favor of P for $2,415.80, the full amount of her claim. D appealed.
Does the forbearance from asserting a good faith legal claim constitute a valid consideration?
Yes. Judgment affirmed
• The surrender of, or forbearance to assert an invalid claim by one who did not have a good faith and reasonable belief in its possible validity is not a sufficient consideration to support a contract.
• However, forbearance to sue for a lawful claim or demand is a sufficient consideration for a promise if the party forbearing had a good faith intention to prosecute litigation which is not frivolous, vexatious, or unlawful, and which she believed to be well founded.
• Here, the court found no proof of fraud or unfairness. P indicated that she made the charge of bastardy against D in good faith.
Generally, there is a requirement that a claim be asserted in good faith. Forbearance in asserting a good faith claim constitutes a valid consideration. Note however, there is no discussion of P’s possible bad faith by nondisclosure.