Friday, November 22, 2013

Lee v. Jenkins Bros. case brief

Lee v. Jenkins Bros. case brief summary
268 F.2d 357 (1959)


CASE SYNOPSIS
Plaintiff appealed dismissal of his complaint by the United States District Court (Connecticut), in action to recover pension payments allegedly due under an oral agreement with defendant president, made on his own account and on behalf of defendant corporation.

CASE FACTS
To induce plaintiff to work for defendant corporation, defendant president orally promised that plaintiff would receive credit for 13 years of service with plaintiff's employer, for purposes of a pension plan that was later incorporated by defendant corporation. The plaintiff failed to meet one of the express requirements for receiving the pension. When plaintiff did not receive the pension, he sued defendants, but dismissal of the complaint was affirmed.

DISCUSSION
  • First, defendant president's statement that plaintiff would receive the pension "regardless of what happens" did not prove plaintiff was promised the pension even if he did not meet the plan requirements. 
  • Second, since both plaintiff and defendant president believed defendant corporation had an obligation to plaintiff, defendant president's guarantee of that obligation was a suretyship agreement. 
  • Thus, it had to be in writing for statute of frauds purposes, regardless of whether defendant president actually had authority to bind defendant corporation.
CONCLUSION
Dismissal affirmed, as there was insufficient evidence of agreement by defendant president to pay pension to plaintiff, even if he did not meet plan requirements. Also, statute of frauds prevented enforcement of defendant president's oral guarantee of obligation he and plaintiff believed defendant corporation owed to plaintiff.

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