Feinberg v. Pfeiffer Co.

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Feinberg v. Pfeiffer Co.
Court St. Louis Court of Appeals, Missouri
Citation 322 S.W. 2d 163 (Mo. Ct. App. 1959)
Date decided March 17, 1959
Appealed from Circuit Court of the City of St. Louis
Case Opinions
written by Doerner

Facts

Plaintiff, Feinburg, was a former employee of Defendant.

Plaintiff worked for Defendant for 39 years. When she had worked at Defendant's company for about 37 1/2 years, the company president initiated a resolution, that was later approved by the board, that increased Plaintiff's wage and also promised a monthly stipend after her retirement that would continue until she died. Plaintiff was clearly informed that there were no stipulations to the promise made to her; she could quit working immediately and begin receiving the stipend, or she could continue working as long as she liked and thought herself able. After the president of the company died and leadership of the company was passed through several hands, Defendant decided that they weren't bound by contract to continue the payments. Payments were reduced from $200 to $100 per month about seven years after Plaintiff's retirement. Plaintiff afterward underwent surgery for cancer and is now unable to work at all.

Procedural History

Trial court found for Plaintiff, damages $5,100. Defendant appealed.

Issues

"Whether Plaintiff has proved that she has a right to recover from Defendant based upon a legally binding contractual obligation to pay her" pension.

Arguments

Defendant argued no consideration, so no enforceability. There were no conditions that had to be fulfilled in the contract that can be construed as a consideration. Plaintiff argued that she would have worked longer at the company had she never received the promise, but relied on the promise and quit when her health was good. Now her health is bad and she can't get work.

Holding

Plaintiff does have right to recover promised money.

Judgment

Affirmed (found for Plaintiff).

Reasons

Promissory estoppel applies to this situation because Plaintiff relied on the promise and took action, which was reasonably foreseeable by Defendant, based on the promise. She could not get a job anywhere else.

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