Foman v. Davis

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Foman v. Davis
Court Supreme Court of the United States
Date decided December 3, 1962
Appealed from 1st Circuit


Adult daughter Ms. Foman & her aging father agreed that the daughter would take care of her mother Mrs. Foman who was a senior citizen. In exchange, the elderly father Mr. Foman agreed to leave his estate intestate.

Upon the father Mr. Foman's death, the daughter Ms. Foman learned that the elderly Mr. Foman had left his entire estate to his 2nd wife Mrs. Davis.

Mr. Foman had left nothing to his 1st wife & daughter Ms. Foman in his will! Mr. Foman had additionally designated his 2nd wife as the executrix on top of leaving everything to his 2nd wife Davis.

Procedural History

Ms. Foman sued the 2nd wife of her father Davis in federal court in Massachusetts seeking to enforce the oral agreement with the deceased Mr. Foman.

The district court dismissed Foman's complaint for failure to state a claim.

Foman moved to enforce a cause of action for quantum meruit. Foman lost & 1st Circuit affirmed her loss.


Should a federal court grant a plaintiff leave to amend her complaint if justice so requires?


Davis argued that the oral agreement with the deceased Mr. Foman was inapplicable under the statute of frauds.


Sure. A federal court should grant a plaintiff leave to amend her complaint if justice so requires.


Federal Rules of Civil Procedure (FRCP), Rule 15(a) states that district courts should freely grant leave to amend a complaint when justice so requires.

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