Levine v. Blumenthal

117 N.J.L. 23, 186 A. 457 (1936)



A consideration, to support a contract, consists either of a benefit to the promisor or a detriment to the promisee. An act or forbearance required by a legal duty owing to the promisor that is neither doubtful nor the subject of honest and reasonable dispute is not a sufficient consideration. 


Plaintiff and defendants entered into a two-year lease with an option for renewal and a rent increase in the second year. Before the expiration of the first year, defendants advised plaintiff that they could not pay any increase in rent because business was bad. Defendants alleged that the plaintiff agreed to allow them to remain under the same rental until business improved. Defendants continued to pay the old rent, which plaintiff accepted. Defendants did not exercise the renewal option and left the premises without paying the last month's rent. Plaintiff brought a successful action to recover the unpaid balance of the rent for the second year. The trial court held that defendants were liable for the balance of the rent on the lease. The defendants appealed.


Was there a valid contract, which obligated the defendant to pay the rent for the year?




The court held that plaintiff's agreement to accept lower payments created no legal obligation where it was not supported by valid consideration. There was no accord and satisfaction where there was no consideration. Judgment for the plaintiff was affirmed.

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