Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Morone v. Morone case brief

Morone v. Morone case brief summary
413 N.E.2d 1154 (N.Y. 1980)

The Appellate Division of the Supreme Court in the Third Judicial Department (New York) entered an order that affirmed the granting of defendant cohabitant male's motion to dismiss the plaintiff cohabitant female's complaint, which sought compensation for services rendered as the male's unmarried cohabitant on implied contract and partnership bases, on the ground that it failed to state a cause of action. The female appealed.

An unmarried female sought compensation from her unmarried male cohabitant for her services during their cohabitation. She alleged theories of implied contract and that the parties orally agreed to a partnership.


  • The court held that a contract relating to the division of earnings or assets may not be implied in fact from the relationship of an unmarried couple that have been living together. 
  • The court found that such an implied in fact contract was so amorphous as practically to defy equitable enforcement, and inconsistent with the legislative policy enunciated when common-law marriages were abolished in New York. 
  • The court stated that the major difficulty with implying a contract from the rendition of services for one another by persons living together was that it was not reasonable to infer an agreement to pay for the services rendered when the relationship of the parties made it natural that the services were rendered gratuitously. 
  • The court also held that an express contract concerning the distribution of income and assets between unmarried persons who had lived together was enforceable, and that there was no requirement that such a contract be in writing.
The court modified the order that dismissed the female's complaint on both of her theories. As modified, the female's complaint was dismissed only as to her implied contract theory.

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