Harrington v. Taylor – Case Brief
Harrington v. Taylor, 225 N.C. 690, 36 S.E.2d 227 (1945).
Facts: Taylor’s wife fled from an assault by Taylor (D) and ran to Harrington’s (P) house. Taylor assaulted his wife in Harrington’s home. Taylor’s wife was about to strike Taylor with an axe when Harrington caught the axe with her hand, saving Taylor. P suffered severe injuries. D promised to compensate P for her injuries the following day, but after paying a small amount refused to make further payment. P sued for breach of contract and D claimed that the contract was unenforceable for lack of consideration. The trial court sustained D’s demurrer to the complaint and P appealed.
Issue: Does past consideration qualify as valid consideration sufficient to create a binding contract?
Holding and Rule: No. Past consideration does not qualify as valid consideration sufficient to create a binding contract.
The court held that gratitude or moral obligations arising from past acts are not sufficient consideration to create a valid contract, and the promise to compensate P for her injuries was unenforceable.
Disposition: Judgment for D.