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Ricketts v. Scothorn

    Citation. 57 Neb. 51, 77 N.W. 365, 1898 Neb. 346

    Brief Fact Summary. Defendant executed a promissory note for $2000 payable with 6% annual interest. Plaintiff sought to enforce the note and alleged that the consideration for the note was her promise to quit her job as bookkeeper and to stop working for a living. Defendant would rely on the interest as a means of support.

    Synopsis of Rule of Law. Equitable estoppel bars a party from asserting lack of consideration where reliance was induced by the party asserting there was no requisite consideration.

    Facts.
    Plaintiff, the maker of the note was Defendant’s grandfather. A witness recalled he came in and gave her the note stating that he had fixed it so she did not have to work any more.
    Plaintiff died two years later having only paid one year of interest and never payed the full balance of the note and has expressed regret regarding his failure to pay the note upon his death.
    There was no promise on the Plaintiff’s part to do or refrain to from doing anything, although she did abandoned the job in reliance on the note.
    One year after quitting her job as bookkeeper, Defendant secured another position as a bookkeeper.

    Issue. Does equitable estoppel preclude the defendant from alleging that the note is lacking consideration?

    Held. Since the grandfather, as maker of the note, intentionally influenced the granddaughter into changing her position on the belief that note would be paid when due it would be inequitable to permit him to escape payment of that note on the ground that there was no consideration. The evidence conclusively established equitable estoppel.

    Discussion. Recognition of reliance may help solve injustice in cases where an agreement is unsupported by consideration.


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