ProfessorMelissa A. Hale
CaseCast™ – "What you need to know"
Brief Fact Summary. Appellant Alaska Packers’ Association, contracted with a group of workmen individually to sail from San Francisco to Alaska “as sailors and fisherman” for $50 for the season and two cents for each red salmon caught. After arrival in Alaska, the workmen stopped working and demanded $100 instead of $50. Realizing that he could find no one else at that time, Appellant signed an agreement to pay them $100, but when the men returned to San Francisco, Appellant paid them only $50.
Synopsis of Rule of Law. A party cannot obtain additional compensation for the duties he has already agreed to perform.
when a party merely does what he has already obligated himself to do, he cannot demand an additional compensation therefor, and although by taking advantage of the necessities of his adversary he obtains a promise for more, the law will regard it as nudum pactum, and will not lend its process to aid in the wrong.View Full Point of Law
Issue. Was the second contract, which bound the appellant to pay twice as much money as under the first contract, supported by sufficient consideration?
Held. No. Appellant agreed to the demands of the workmen out of necessity. The new agreement was based solely upon the workmen’s assent to render the exact services that they were already under contract to render. Hence, the new agreement was not supported by new consideration and therefore unenforceable.
Discussion. A contract lacks consideration where one or more of the parties incur no new responsibilities under the new agreement.