Dougherty v Salt

Dispute

At a young age, the plaintiff had been given a promissory note for $3,000.00 by his aunt, who wished to help take care of him. At her death, the plaintiff sued her estate for the funds. The jury said that there was consideration and the trial judge set aside the verdict and dismissed. The appellate court reversed on the basis that the note was sufficient evidence of consideration.

Rules of law

To be contractually enforceable, a promise must be supported by a bargained-for consideration that is sought by the promisor in exchange for the promise.

Arguments

The estate argued that there was no consideration and therefore no contract. The nephew claimed the note and accompanying recitations provided evidence of consideration. The estate argued that mere recitation does not produce consideration.

Conclusion

The court held that there was no contract and entered a judgment accordingly. The mere recitation of consideration does not alter the requirement for a bargained-for consideration, and the aunt in this case was merely conferring a bounty, not paying for anything of value.

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