ProfessorMelissa A. Hale
CaseCast™ – "What you need to know"
Brief Fact Summary. Plaintiff Webb was injured while trying to protect McGowin from injury. McGowin made payments to Plaintiff following his injury. Plaintiff brings this action to compel Defendant, McGowin’s estate, to continue making payments.
Synopsis of Rule of Law. A subsequent promise is enforceable where the promisor has received a material benefit from the promisee.
We think that, in conformity to the great weight of authority, the rule in this state is, a moral obligation is not a sufficient consideration to support an executory express promise, unless there has been an antecedent legal liability, which has become suspended or barred by operation of some positive rule of law, which extinguished the remedy but not the debt, or where the promisee has suffered some detriment in reliance upon the promise, or where the promisor has received an actual pecuniary or material benefit for which he subsequently expressly promised to pay.View Full Point of Law
Issue. Can Plaintiff enforce McGowin’s promise to make payments?
Held. Yes. McGowin’s promise is enforceable because Plaintiff conferred a material benefit on McGowin. While generally a moral obligation will not make an agreement enforceable, where a material benefit has been conferred, the material benefit will provide consideration for the subsequent promise. When Plaintiff saved McGowin’s life, McGowin received a material benefit from Plaintiff which provided consideration to make his subsequent promise enforceable.
Discussion. In the present case, the Court found that McGowin’s subsequent promise was enforceable because he had received a material benefit from Plain