The Law School Authority

Hasse v. Cardoza Case Brief

Summary of Hasse v. Cardoza (1958) 165 Cal. App. 2d 35

P: Hasse, tried to enforce a promise

D: Cardoza, made a promise to pay $50 a month to P

Promissory estoppel is different in various contexts – employment v. gift v. charity

§90 addresses promissory estoppel – even when a promise complies with §90 it is not necessarily enforced.

F:         D entered into an inter vivos trust wherein the survivor would get everything that they had acquired during marriage. After husband’s death, D told P that her husband had asked her to give her sister $10k and (other sister) Haase $3k but that she never did and now felt guilty. D asked P to accept $50 monthly. D paid $50 monthly until P asked for a note to cover the balance. P sued for enforcement of the promise.

I:          Was there an obligation for D to pay based on the wishes of her husband (No) and was there consideration which established a contract for $50/mo between the parties?

R:         Interfamilial promises are rarely ever enforced and “there must be some accompanying factor of the past or some subsequent change of position in reliance on the promise” (pg. 164).

A:         Ct. held that “no good or valuable consideration ever existed between any of the parties” (pg. 164).

These people are family members – payment did not stop until one asked the other to sign a note for the balance. D might have been offended by this question and this would also become a legally enforceable promise in her mind (though it actually would not be enforceable since there was no consideration).

When the ct. says an informal promise they usually mean a promise that the person did not mean to be legally enforceable.

C:         There was no consideration for the promise to pay $50/mo and no reliance on the promise that was sufficient to justify the use of the doctrine of promissory estoppel.

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