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Jennings v. Radio Station KSCS - 708 S.W.2d 60 (Tex. App. 1986)

Rule:

A valuable and sufficient consideration for a contract may consist of either a benefit to the promisor or a loss or detriment to the promisee. Thus when a promisee acts to his detriment in reliance upon a promise, there is sufficient consideration to bind the promisor to his promise. 

Facts:

Appellant, a state prisoner, filed suit against appellee radio station for breach of an oral contract. Appellant's suit alleged that it was appellee's policy to regularly state that they played at least three songs in a row or the station would pay $ 25,000 to the listener who spotted the mistake. Appellant alleged that each time appellee played five-in-a row that they actually played only three songs, followed by a brief commercial, and then two songs. Appellant further alleged that appellee had refused to pay him $ 25,000. The court below granted appellee's motion for summary judgment because it found that appellant was not a person to whom appellee owed any duty recognizable under law. The judgment of the court below was reversed and remanded on appeal. 

Issue:

Was there an enforceable contract to compel the radio station to pay the sum promised?

Answer:

Yes

Conclusion:

The court found that appellant's petition sufficiently alleged a cause of action sounding in breach of contract to necessitate a trial on the merits because appellant relied to his detriment on appellee's promise to pay him $ 25,000 if he could catch the station playing fewer than three songs in a row. It is elementary contract law that a valuable and sufficient consideration for a contract may consist of either a benefit to the promisor or a loss or detriment to the promise. Thus when a promisee acts to his detriment in reliance upon a promise, there is sufficient consideration to bind the promisor to his promise. In the instant case, appellant's petition alleged that he stopped listening to KSCS when appellee refused to pay him $25,000.00. Implicit in this statement was an allegation by appellant that he listened to KSCS because appellee promised to pay him $25,000.00 if he could catch the radio station playing fewer than three songs in a row. Appellant thus relied to his detriment. He could have listened to any station, but he listened to KSCS because of the promise. Appellee also benefitted by the promise. KSCS gained new listeners, like appellant, who listened in the hope of winning $25,000.00. The court held that appellant's petition sufficiently alleged a cause of action sounding in breach of contract to necessitate a trial on the merits.

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