Summary of Dementas v. Estate of Tallas
764 p.2d 628
Facts: The plaintiff, (Dementas) and Tallas, (the deceased) were good friends. Dementas did many favors for Tallas. Tallas, in Greek dictated a memorandum saying he would leave Dementas $50k in his will for helping him so. Plaintiff kept the memo, but had it translated and typed in English with his own notary seal. Tallas died and there was no mention of Dementas in his will. Plaintiff sough action against the estate to recover, and the court found that although the translation was free from fraud, it was no more than an unenforceable expression of appreciation. Plaintiff appealed.
Issue: Whether there was sufficient consideration to show that Tallas' promise was enforceable?
Rule: No, there was not sufficient consideration to show that Tallas' promise was enforceable.
Analysis: Consideration or a sufficient substitute thereof must be established as part of a prima facie case. The promise by Tallas was not supported by legal consideration. Some courts have sought to enforce promises supported by past consideration (equivalent to no consideration), by invoking a moral obligation. Even if this doctrine were to apply, it would not where a plaintiff failed to meet his burden of proof.