Brief Fact Summary. The Defendant, Cowles Media Co. (Defendant), promised the Plaintiff, Cohen (Plaintiff), confidentiality in order to receive certain information to be published. Defendant failed to adhere to the agreement and as a result the Plaintiff lost his employment and received a damage award by the trial court.
Synopsis of Rule of Law. Compensatory damages are a proper remedy to avoid the injustice under a promissory estoppel claim.
Whenever, in such a context, these constitutional protections are asserted against the exercise of valid governmental powers a reconciliation must be effected, and that perforce requires an appropriate weighing of the respective interests involved.View Full Point of Law
Issue. Is the award sustainable under the theory of promissory estoppel?
Held. Yes. Under the restatement, the reporters promise was expected to induce and did induce the disclosure necessary for the story. A breach of that promise should result in damages to avoid injustice.
Restatement Second Section:90 states: A promise which is expected to induce definite action by the promisee, and does induce the action is binding if injustice can be avoided only by enforcing the promise. The promise must be (1) clear and definite and (2) the promisor must have intended to induce reliance on the part of the promisee and such reliance must have occurred to the promisee’s detriment.
Plaintiff receives the verdict of $200,000 for compensatory damages.
Discussion. The Second Restatement Section:90 eliminates the requirement that reliance be definite and substantial and provides that the remedy granted for breach may be limited as justice requires. Damages then might be limited to restitution or measured to the extent of plaintiff’s reliance.