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Cash v. Benward

    Brief Fact Summary.

    Cash sued Benward and Sisk for breach of contract when a life insurance policy solicited by Benward was not enforced at his wife’s death.

    Synopsis of Rule of Law.

    A contract is not formed without a detriment to the promisee or benefit to the promisor.

    Facts.

    Cash was in the National Guard and Benward was his unit clerk, with Sisk as Benward’s supervisor. Benward gave Cash a spousal life insurance policy that was not associated with the National Guard, although Cash was unaware. Cash sent Benward a check for the policy, but the check never cleared. When Cash asked about his life insurance application, Sisk informed Cash that his application had been thrown out and that Sisk would provide Cash with another application in December. When Cash received a new application, his wife died and Cash subsequently sued for breach of contract. The trial court granted summary judgment to Benward and Sisk.

    Issue.

    Whether a contract is formed without a detriment to the promisee or benefit to the promisor?

    Held.

    No. The judgment of the trial court is affirmed. Cash did not agree to do anything in exchange for Benward or Sisk’s help with the life insurance policy. Because there was no bargained-for-exchange, Benward and Sisk were not bound by a contract.

    Discussion.

    A contract is not formed without a detriment to the promisee or benefit to the promisor. Without consideration, or a promise for a promise, then a person is not legally bound to another party.


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