PROMISES, PROMISES 
Wednesday, December 27, 2017, 08:21 AM
Posted by Administrator
As difficult as it might be to make someone do what they have contracted to do, it is about impossible to use the legal system to make someone keep a promise.

To be a contract, there must be an exchange of consideration: I give you something and you give me something. The "something" might be an obligation to be performed, later ....for instance, I will do work for you after you give me money. A promise is a one-sided affair: "I promise to give you my lawnmower." and, I am free to reneg.

If you are a charity, you can use the court-developed fiction that you were resasonably relying on my promise and, if I don't perform, you will be injured. For instance, if I promise to give $10,000 to a church, the church could claim that without MY money, they won't be able to afford to finish the half-completed steeple and it will topple over. Fiction? Sure. But the courts didn't want people to promise charity in a moment of adrenaline fueled/Christmas spirit/Marlo Thomas for St. Jude's generosity and then not give when they realized they needed a bigger car, so the idea of reasonable-reliance-to-the-promisee's-detriment got invented.

If you have received a promise that you have relied on to your detriment (for example, half-built a fence on your side of the property line that you couldn't afford because your next-door neighbor promised to pay for the other half...and you wouldn't/couldn't have built it without his/her money) MAYBE you can get the promise enforced (in the sense of getting a judgment for money damages). But, probably not.

Here is a court case from somewhere that I remember from law school (34 years ago and 200 miles North of here): Car sales manager from California gets a job offer from a car dealer in Hawaii. He takes the job, packs up his family, ships their stuff to Hawaii, everyone gets on an airplane. Once in Hawaii, they move into their new place and then the man gets a call from the Hawaii car dealership. "We changed our mind about hiring you.", he is told.

This certainly was reasonable reliance on a promise for employment. Right? And, the man spent thousands and uprooted his family. Did he win? No.

Be careful out there.
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