Sunday, December 1, 2013

Hoffman v. Red Owl Stores, Inc. case brief

Hoffman v. Red Owl Stores, Inc. case brief summary
133 N.W.2d 267 (1965)


CASE SYNOPSIS
Defendants appealed a judgment from the Circuit Court for Outagamie County (Wisconsin) in favor of plaintiffs, who had been induced to sell their grocery store, fixtures, and inventory based on an agreement that defendants would establish them in a new store.

CASE FACTS
Defendants promised plaintiffs that for a sum of money, they would establish a new grocery store for them. After plaintiffs sold their present grocery store and paid for the new lot, defendants continuously increased the price the parties had originally agreed upon. Consequently, plaintiffs were induced to sell the store's fixtures and inventory on the promise that they would be in their new store in a few months. The deal never went through and plaintiffs sued defendants. Judgment was entered in favor of plaintiffs, and defendants appealed.

DISCUSSION

  • On appeal, the court had to determine whether it should recognize causes of actions grounded on promissory estoppel. 
  • The court endorsed and adopted the doctrine of promissory estoppel and affirmed the judgment. 
  • The court concluded that injustice would result if plaintiffs were not granted some relief where defendants failed to keep their promises, which had induced plaintiffs to act to their detriment.

CONCLUSION
The court affirmed the lower court's decision, limiting plaintiffs to taxing two-thirds of their costs, because the court concluded that injustice would result if plaintiffs were not granted relief where defendants' failed to keep their promises which had induced plaintiffs to act to their detriment.


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