ProfessorMelissa A. Hale
CaseCast™ – "What you need to know"
Brief Fact Summary. The board of the Defendant, Pfeiffer, Co. (Defendant), agreed to a give the Plaintiff, Feinberg (Plaintiff), a retirement package upon her retirement. After two additional years of working, the Plaintiff retired. Defendant ceased payment and Plaintiff sued to enforce the agreement.
Synopsis of Rule of Law. A promise that induces an action or forbearance is binding if injustice can be avoided only by enforcement of the promise.
Issue. Was there a contract based on promissory estoppel?
Held. Yes. Affirmed.
Restatement sec.90 Promissory Estoppel: A promise which the promisor should reasonably expect to induce action or forbearance of a definite and substantial character on the part of the promisee and which does induce such action or forbearance is binding if injustice can be avoided only by enforcement of the promise.
Under a reliance theory of recovery, it is a matter of common knowledge that it is virtually impossible for a woman at the age of 63 to find satisfactory employment, much less a position comparable to that which Plaintiff enjoyed at the time of her retirement. Therefore, by retiring she gave up the opportunity to continue to work based on the $200 per month stipend.
Discussion. Here, the court does not look to her past services because past consideration does not count for consideration. Therefore, the court applies the alternate theory of promissory estoppel to reach the desired outcome.