Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Duncan v. Black case brief

Duncan v. Black case brief summary
324 S.W.2d 483 (Mo. 1959)

Plaintiff creditor sought review of a judgment from the Circuit Court of Scott County (Missouri), which found for defendant debtor in an action brought on a note that was given by the debtor to settle the creditor's alleged claim arising out of the transfer of a cotton allotment. In defense of the action, the debtor argued that the creditor's forbearance in asserting the alleged claim had been insufficient consideration.

In conjunction with the creditor's purchase of the debtor's land, the debtor agreed to transfer a 65-acre cotton allotment. Thereafter, the allotment was fixed at 49 acres, and to make up the difference, the debtor used the allotment allowed the unsold land. The next year, the creditor asked the debtor make up the difference again, and when the debtor refused, the creditor claimed that the debtor owed contractual damages. To settle the matter, the debtor gave the creditor a note, and when the debtor later refused to pay, the creditor brought an action. Following a judgment for the debtor, review was sought.


  • In finding the creditor's forbearance to have been insufficient consideration for the settlement, the court held the only thing the parties had contracted for was the allotment's amount for the ensuing crop year. 
  • Thus, the court held that the creditor had gotten everything bargained for and that the creditor's claim to a nonexistent future allotment had been baseless and had not arisen to the dignity of consideration. 
  • Moreover, the court held the consideration was insufficient because the creditor's claim had been based on an agreement that violated public policy.

The court affirmed a judgment which found for the debtor in the creditor's action that was brought on a note given by the debtor to settle the creditor's alleged claim.

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