Thursday, February 21, 2013

Hamer v. Sidway case brief

Hamer v. Sidway case brief summary
124 N.Y. 538

SYNOPSIS: Plaintiff appealed from an order of the Supreme Court in the Fourth Judicial Department (New York), which reversed a judgment in his favor in an action to enforce a contract.

-Plaintiff sought to enforce against the defendant estate a promise made by his now-deceased uncle to pay plaintiff a sum of money if plaintiff refrained from the use of alcohol and tobacco for a period of years.
-Plaintiff so refrained and sought recovery of the sum promised.
-At trial, judgment was entered for the plaintiff, but that judgment was later reversed. Plaintiff appealed, and the court reversed.

The court held that a promise to forbear or abandon a legal right in return for another's promise was sufficient consideration to support the contract.

Here, plaintiff abandoned his legal right to use tobacco in exchange for his uncle's promise to pay him a sum of money; therefore, there was sufficient consideration to enforce the contract.

-A valuable consideration in the sense of the law consists either of some right, interest, profit or benefit accruing to the one party, or some forbearance, detriment, loss or responsibility given, suffered or undertaken by the other.
-Courts will not ask whether the thing which forms the consideration does in fact benefit the promisee or a third party, or is of any substantial value to anyone.
-It is enough that something is promised, done, forborne or suffered by the party to whom the promise is made as consideration for the promise made to him.

OUTCOME: Order reversing trial court judgment in favor of plaintiff was reversed on the grounds that plaintiff's promise to abandon his legal right to use tobacco and alcohol was sufficient consideration to enforce the contract.

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