Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Bright v. Ganas case brief

Bright v. Ganas case brief summary
189 A. 427 (1937)

Defendant executor appealed a judgment from the Circuit Court for Somerset County (Maryland) that was rendered for plaintiff servant in the servant's suit to enforce an alleged testamentary contract executed by the servant and the executor's decedent.

The court ruled that the evidence was legally sufficient to establish that the servant and the decedent entered into an oral agreement whereby the servant was to live with the decedent and in consideration of the servant's faithful and continued service for the decedent's lifetime, the servant was to receive on the decedent's death a certain sum out of the decedent's estate. The decedent's will made no such provision for the servant and the executor refused to honor the contract. In the servant's suit, the trial court entered a directed verdict for the executor on the servant's breach of contract claim and entered judgment for the servant on his claim in assumpsit.


  • On appeal, the court reversed the judgment. 
  • The court ruled that the record showed that the servant was entitled to a verdict for the amount sued for or nothing at all. 
  • The court then ruled that because the servant showed, without contradiction, an express contract, he was not entitled to recover on a quantum meruit theory. 
  • The court ruled that the servant's unfaithfulness and disloyalty, as evidenced by his making uninvited romantic advances on the decedent's wife, worked as a forfeiture of his right to compensation.
The court reversed a judgment that was rendered for the servant in his action to enforce a testamentary contract executed by the servant and the executor's decedent.

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