A man, far from home, got ill.
Out of the goodness of her heart, a woman took him in and gave him
medicine. He got better.
After he recovered and left,
he wrote her a letter thanking her and promising her $1k.
However, the man never sent
The woman sued.
The Court found for the man.
The Court found that there
was no bargained for exchange, so
there was no enforceable contract.
She gave him a gift, and he made her a naked promise. She did not perform the actions in
exchange for the $1k.
If the sick man had come to
her and she said, "I'll give you medicine, but only if you give me $1k
in exchange," and he agreed, then he would have been contractually bound
to pay, but that wasn't how it happened.
The Court found that "past
consideration is no consideration."
Compare this case to Hamer
v. Sidway (N.E. 256 (N.Y. 1891)). In
that case there was a similar promise and gift, but the court found the
promise binding because the agreement was made between the parties prior
In this case, the promise
was made after performance.
That's a big difference.