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would refrain from drinking, using tobacco, swearing, and playing cards or billiards for money until he became twenty-one years of age. The nephew refrained from all the specified activities as he was requested to do, and on his twenty-first birthday he wrote
his uncle a letter asking him for the money. The uncle, in reply, assured the nephew, “Youshall have the $5,000 as I promised you.” The uncle went on, however, to explain that he had worked very hard to accumulate that sum of money and would pay it “when you are capable of taking care of it, and the sooner that time comes the better it will suit me.” Two years later the uncle died, without having made payment. The administrator of the uncle’s estate, Sidway, refused to pay the $5,000, and suit was brought to recover that sum. (The plaintiff is Hamer, rather than the nephew, for the reason that at some time before litigation was begun the nephew had assigned—that is, sold—his rights against theestate to Hamer. Thus Hamer’s right to recover is entirely dependent upon whether the nephew had a valid contractual claim against his uncle.) The trial court ruled that the uncle’s promise to pay the $5,000 was not supported by consideration on the part of the nephew (the promisee) and entered judgment for the defendant. The appeal reversed this decision.Advocacy of Consideration (How much is enough?): Whenever the enforceability of a promise is at issue, a finding that the promisee incurred a legally recognized detriment results in the promisor being bound to the contract. This is usually true even if the actual values of the detriment are unequal- as is reflected in the often repeated statement that “the law is not concerned with the adequacy of consideration”Pre-Existing ObligationsA promisee does not incur a detriment by performing, or promising to perform, an act that he or she was under a preexisting duty to perform.General ruleoA modification contract (contract that alters the terms of an existing contract) requires some new consideration in order to be enforceableContractor asking for more money: the purpose is to prevent them from stopping work, or by actually stopping it. And from enforcing the new promise made by them to pay more in the circumstance1940 Quarture vs Alegheny CountyOriginal contract obligated lawyer for quarture to pursue case to final determination for initial fee of 10% of ultimate recovery. Initial award was not final determination since it was subject to appeal. lawyer wanted33% on the next round of legal action. Because lawyer forwas already obligated to pursue case for Quarture through appeal in exchange for 10%, he suffered no detriment by promising to handle the appeal and so his promise was not consideration for Quarture's promise to pay 33%.