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Unformatted text preview: 93 C HAPTER 12 C ONSIDERATION A NSWER TO C RITICAL A NALYSIS Q UESTION IN THE F EATURE CONTEMPORARY LEGAL DEBATES—WHERE DO YOU STAND? (PAGE 261) Some jurisdictions maintain that it would be irrational to apply the doctrine of promissory estoppel to a promise of at-will employment, given that the em- ployee could be fired after working for only one day on the job. Other jurisdic- tions, in contrast, conclude that the doctrine should apply because the em- ployer should reasonably expect a job candidate in this situation to act in re- liance on the promise. Does one of these two arguments have greater merit than the other? What is your position on this issue? One argument on each side of this debate is presented in the sentences introducing these questions. It might also be pointed out that some courts emphasize it is the promise of employment on which an ex- pectant employee relied that is broken, regardless of how long or short the term may or may not have been. To avoid the question altogether, an employer might be advised to use care in promising employment. A NSWERS TO Q UESTIONS AT THE E NDS OF THE C ASES CASE 12.1—(PAGE 251) WHAT IF THE FACTS WERE DIFFERENT? If the nephew had not had a legal right to engage in the behavior in which he agreed not to indulge, would the result in this case have been different? Most likely, yes, because if Story had not had a legal right to engage in the behavior in which he agreed not to partake that behavior would have been illegal and hence not “something of legal value,” which is a requirement of the legal sufficiency of consideration. 94 UNIT THREE: CONTRACTS AND E-CONTRACTS CASE 12.2—(PAGE 253) THE ETHICAL DIMENSION In most circumstances, parties are free to make whatever promises they wish, but only those promises made with consideration may be enforced as con- tracts. What is the purpose of this requiremen t? Legal rules exist not for their own sake but to further justice and convenience in the business of life. Economic and com- mercial activities are encouraged by giving legal protection to such transactions—i.e., exchanges—and not to gratuitous promises, which may be made without deliberation and may not be relied on. Also, a gratuitous promise may be made improvidently or its promisee may even show ingratitude. There would not seem to be either a legal or an ethical basis for enforcing such promises. THE LEGAL ENVIRONMENT DIMENSION The courts generally do not weigh the sufficiency of consideration according to the comparative economic value of what is exchanged. Should they? Why or why not? The court in the Barfield case noted that “the legal sufficiency of a considera- tion for a promise does not depend upon the comparative economic value of the consid- eration and of what is promised in return, for the parties are deemed to be the best judges of the bargains entered into .... Where a party contracts for the performance of an act which will afford him pleasure, gratify his ambition, please his fancy, or express...
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This note was uploaded on 10/11/2010 for the course MGT 301 taught by Professor Pederson during the Fall '10 term at SUNY Stony Brook.
- Fall '10
- Business Law