Thursday, February 21, 2013

Feinberg v. Pfeiffer Co. case brief (Promissory Estoppel)

Feinberg v. Pfeiffer Co. case brief summary
322 S.W.2d 163

SYNOPSIS: Defendant appealed a judgment of the Circuit Court of the City of St. Louis (Missouri) in favor of plaintiff in an action seeking payment of retirement benefits.

-Plaintiff sought monetary damages, arguing that defendant was contractually obligated to pay monthly pension benefits upon her retirement.
-Defendant argued that it was not obligated, because there had been no consideration for its promise to pay plaintiff monthly pension benefits, and that as such, the promise to do so was nothing more than a promise to make a gift.

-The court found that plaintiff relied on defendant's promise to pay monthly retirement benefits for her life in making her decision to give up her gainful employment, and noted that as such, defendant was contractually liable for the payments under the doctrine of 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. This doctrine has been described as that of promissory estoppel.

OUTCOME: The court affirmed the judgment, holding that plaintiff's retirement in reliance on defendant's promise of retirement pay created an enforceable contract under the doctrine of promissory estoppel.

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