ProfessorMelissa A. Hale
CaseCast™ – "What you need to know"
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.
Estoppel. Equitable estoppel is the effect of the voluntary conduct of a party whereby he is absolutely precluded, both at law and in equity, from asserting rights which might perhaps have otherwise existed, either of property, of contract, or of remedy, as against another person who in good faith relied upon such conduct and has been led thereby to change his position for the worse, and who on his part acquires some corresponding right either of property, of contract, or of remedy.View Full Point of Law
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.