McIntosh v. Murphy, 52 Haw. 29, 469 P.2d 177 (1970)

52 Haw. 29, 469 P.2d 177 (1970)

 

RULE:

A promise which the promisor should reasonably expect to induce action or forbearance on the part of the promisee or a third person and which does induce the action or forbearance is enforceable notwithstanding the statute of frauds if injustice can be avoided only by enforcement of the promise. The remedy granted for breach is to be limited as justice requires. 

FACTS:

Defendant employer challenged a decision entering judgment for plaintiff former employee in an action for breach of a one-year oral employment contract. Plaintiff moved 2200 miles from Los Angeles to Hawaii to take the job and was fired prior to the end of the one-year contractual term.  

ISSUE:

Can injustice be avoided only by enforcement of the promise?

ANSWER:

Yes.

CONCLUSION:

In determining whether injustice can be avoided only by enforcement of the promise, the following circumstances are significant: (a) the availability and adequacy of other remedies, particularly cancellation and restitution; (b) the definite and substantial character of the action or forbearance in relation to the remedy sought; (c) the extent to which the action or forbearance corroborates evidence of the making and terms of the promise, or the making and terms are otherwise established by clear and convincing evidence; (d) the reasonableness of the action or forbearance; (e) the extent to which the action or forbearance was forseeable by the promisor. There is no dispute that the action of the plaintiff in moving 2200 miles from Los Angeles to Hawaii was foreseeable by the defendant. In fact, it was required to perform his duties. The enforcement of the contract and the granting of money damages can only avoid injustice. No other remedy is adequate.

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