ProfessorMelissa A. Hale
CaseCast™ – "What you need to know"
Brief Fact Summary. P brings suit against D for payments that D promised to P after P suffered serious bodily harm in preventing a block from falling on D.
Synopsis of Rule of Law. A moral obligation is a sufficient consideration to support a subsequent promise to pay where the promisor has received a material benefit.
Issue. If a promisee cares for, improves, and preserves the property of the promisor, though done without his request, is it a sufficient consideration for the promisor’s subsequent agreement to pay for the service because of the material benefit received?
Held. Yes. Case is reversed and remanded.
Life and preservation of the body have material, pecuniary values, measurable in dollars and cents.
A moral obligation is a sufficient consideration to support a subsequent promise to pay where the promisor has received a material benefit, although there was no original duty or liability resting on the promisor.
Here the court distinguishes this case from other cases where the consideration is a mere moral obligation. In this case, the court found that the promisor, McGowin, received a material benefit constituting a valid consideration for his promise.
Concurrence. The law should reflect justice.
Discussion. Generally, past consideration could not be consideration. Here the court makes an exception to the general rule for a type of moral obligation. However, the moral obligation does not fit into the requirement of bargained-for exchange.