Contracts > Contracts Keyed to Calamari > Consideration
Kirksey v. Kirksey
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Brief Fact Summary.
Plaintiff abandoned her place of residence and moved in with the Defendant based on Defendant’s letter inviting Plaintiff. After 2 years, the Defendant asked her to move out.
Synopsis of Rule of Law.
A promise of mere gratuity is not an enforceable promise.
Plaintiff was Defendant’s brother’s wife. After Plaintiff’s husband died, the Defendant wrote her a letter saying that if she would like to abandon her current place of residence and live with him, he would provide her with a place to live until her children grow up. The Plaintiff abandoned her place of residence and moved in with the Defendant. After 2 years, the Defendant asked her to move out.
Is the Defendant’s promise enforceable?
No. Reversed. The promise is gratuitous and not enforceable. There was no mutuality in the agreement and thus no consideration.
The Plaintiff’s action of leaving behind her former residence and moving sixty miles is sufficient consideration to support the promise. The defendant’s desires and motives were not clear in this transaction and consideration was present to form a contract.
The court sees this transaction as a conditional gift and not a promise. A condition exists where there is absence of a benefit to the promisor. Here, a benefit to the promisor was not found by the court and thus no consideration. Additionally, there was no bargaining between the parties and the Plaintiff’s promise to move did not induce a promise from the defendant.