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Case: Mills v.

Wyman

Parties: Plaintiff - Mills, who took care of defendant's son when he was ill
Defendant - Wyman, father of ill man who was helped by plaintiff

Procedural History: Action of assumpsit (A common law action by which


compensation in damages may be recovered for the nonperformance of a contract
express or implied, written or verbal, but not under seal and not of record.) to
the court of common pleas, where case was dismissed. Plaintiff appealed to the
Superior Court of Massachusetts.

Facts: Defendant Wyman's son was ill and taken in and cared for by plaintiff,
Mills. Son was 25, and had long ceased to be a member of his father's family.
After plaintiff finished caring for defendant's son, defendant write a letter to
plaintiff promising to pay any expenses incurred by the plaintiff while caring for
his son. When defendant failed to pay plaintiff sued. Dismissed due to lack of
consideration . Father had no consideration for promising to pay for the
expenses, since his son was no longer in his care.

Issue: Does a father have a legal obligation to pay the expenses incurred by
someone who took care of his son, whom he was not obligated to care for any
longer, although he promised to pay?

Holding/Judgment: No, the father does not have an obligation to pay expenses
incurred by his son who he is no longer legally bound to care for. The supreme
court affirmed because there was no consideration for defendant's promise to pay
plaintiff's expenses.

Reasoning: The care and services provided for defendant's son were not given at
the defendant's request, and the defendant was not legally obligated to support
his son in any way. Thus, because defendant's son was an adult who was responsible
for his own debts, any debt he incurred created no obligation upon defendant.
Therefore, there is no consideration. Without consideration, defendant's promise
to pay this debt had no legally binding force.

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CLASS NOTES

Moral Obligation
Quasi Contract (pg 109)

Father promised to pay AFTER the care was rendered. Is a moral obligation
sufficient to support a legal obligation if there is no consideration?

There was no pre-existing obligation for the father, so the moral obligation
therefore does not qualify.
Quasi-Contracts needs:
• Benefit incurred upon someone
• Person had opportunity to deny the acceptance of the benefit (consent-
driven)
• Beneficiary keeps the benefit without compensating the other party

No quasi contract exists, because these necessities of quasi contract don’t exist.
Benefit was incurred on son, but father never had the opportunity to accept or
deny the benefit. He never consented to the benefit.
Not enforceable.

Plaintiff is a volunteer, good Samaritan. But not entitled to collect.