Webb v. McGowin (1935)

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Webb v. McGowin (1935)
Court Alabama Court of Appeals
Citation 27 Ala.App. 82, 168 So. 196
Date decided November 12, 1935
Related Webb v. McGowin (1936)
Followed by
Webb v. McGowin (1936)


  • Mr. Webb = "Webb" = plaintiff
  • Mr. McGowin = "McGowin" = defendant
  • Webb & McGowin worked at a lumber mill in Alabama in the 1920s.
  • Webb's duties included cleaning out the loft's 2nd floor.
  • 1 days, Webb hurt himself & fell from the 2nd floor as he was trying to ensure that no harm was coming to McGowin.
  • Webb became disabled for the rest of his life. In return for his heroics, McGowin promised to pay Webb $15 every other week.
  • McGowin faithfully paid for Webb's kindness until McGowin himself passed away 8 years later.

Procedural History

Webb sued McGowin's executors for lack of payments.

Webb lost because the Butler County circuit court ruled that no valid contract existed.


When a person receives a gratuitous benefit & later promises to pay the benefactor back, is that promise enforceable?


Yes. A material, substantial benefit conferred in the past can constitute consideration for a voluntarily assumed promise of compensation later.


  • Mills v. Wyman, a case with harsh & opposite results for the benefactor