Read why you could be sued over a broken promise

There have claims about weather people could be sue for broken promises. No but there is an exception.

The exception here is the doctrine of promissory estoppel, US attorney Ruth Lee Johnson, J.D has written in the Psychology Today.

She argues that in the absence of a contract or agreement, which requires benefit to both sides the law is generally unavailable to enforce a promise. Consider the examples below.

Example 1. I promise to give you a hat in exchange for your payment of $10. In this situation, there are benefits to both sides—I get money and you get a hat—and so this would be considered a contract and enforceable by law.

Example 2. I promise to give you a hat. In this situation, there is no benefit promised to me, and as a result, this promise would not be enforceable by law.

The doctrine of  promissory estoppel is defined as: "A promise which the promisor should reasonably expect to induce action or forbearance of a definite and substantial character on the part of the promisee and which does induce such action or forbearance …"

According to her, a promise can be enforced by law if the person receiving the promise acted in reliance on the promise, and the person making the promise reasonably expected that there would be such reliance.

Example 3. A company orally promises to pay an employee a monthly amount for the remainder of the employee’s life. Based on this promise, the employee retires from her job. Promissory estoppel would apply to prevent the company from withdrawing its promise. This is a real case — see Feinberg v. Pfeiffer Co., 322 S.W.2d 163, 165 (Mo. App. 1959).

How the doctrine of promissory estoppel apply?

Consider this: You work in Accra. You tell your girlfriend who works Tamale to move closer to you in Accra promising that you take care of her. She obliges and quit her job only for you to break your promise. would promissory estoppel apply?

"Perhaps," Ruth Lee Johnson, J.D writes. "But certain requirements would also need to be met. The reliance must be reasonable, and there must be loss suffered due to the reliance. See, e.g., Alden v. Presley, 637 S.W.2d 862 (Tenn. 1982) (promise to pay off mortgage of girlfriend’s mother not enforceable because reliance was not reasonably justified and no loss was suffered)."


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