Seavey v. Drake

Supreme Court of New Hampshire, 1882.

62 N.H. 393.

Dawson, pp. 264-265


Facts: The plaintiff’s dad orally promised him part of his land.  The plaintiff dropped a debt owed by his father to him, and then his father gave him more land.  The plaintiff made improvements on the land.  The plaintiff sued his father’s estate to get a deed to the land.


Issue: Shall the oral contract for land be enforced?


Rule: Making improvements on land promised by a donor constitutes consideration in equity for the promise.


Analysis: The court says there is no difference between a sale of land and a gift of land so long as the receiver of the land has expended time and money on improving the land.


Conclusion: The oral contract is enforced.


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