Law School Case Brief
Sugarhouse Fin. Co. v. Anderson - 610 P.2d 1369 (Utah Sup.Ct. 1980)
No completely satisfactory and comprehensive definition of "consideration" has ever been devised. It is generally agreed, however, that where a promise is supported by the incurrence, on the part of the promisee, of a legal detriment in order to confer a benefit on the promisor, such is sufficient to serve as consideration, thereby rendering the promise legally enforceable. This is particularly so when an accord and satisfaction is involved, the modern trend among the courts being to uphold such agreements wherever possible. In such cases, consideration is often found in the obligor's agreement to alter the means or method of payment of the obligation initially owed, or to surrender the assertion of a legally enforceable right.
Defendant debtor approached plaintiff creditor to settle a judgment against him two years after the entry of judgment. The creditor agreed to a compromise amount of $2,200, and accepted a check from the debtor, with instructions to wait to cash the check upon the debtor's confirmation of availability of funds to cover the check. The creditor then refused to go through with the accord and returned the check to the debtor upon learning that the debtor had an interest in a parcel of land, the sale of which was pending. The debtor then filed a motion for enforcement of the parties' accord in the underlying action. The creditor alleged that the debtor should not be entitled to claim accord and satisfaction as grounds to enforce the parties' agreement. The trial court granted the debtor's motion for enforcement of the accord, and ordered the creditor to file a satisfaction upon receipt of the $2,200 per the terms of the accord. The creditor appealed.
Could the creditor refuse to enforce the parties' accord upon subsequently acquiring information that the debtor had a property for sale?
The court affirmed the order enforcing the parties' agreement to settle the creditor's prior judgment against the debtor. The court held that the debtor had not fraudulently induced the creditor to enter into the accord by not informing it of his interest in the real property or its pending sale because the creditor had the ability to determine the debtor's assets, had filed the judgment, and had perfected its lien against the debtor's interests. The debtor provided consideration for the accord by obtaining a loan from a third party to provide immediate payment to the creditor, which he had no obligation to do.
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