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Trimmer v. Van Bomel

(1980)

New York Supreme Court - 434 N.Y.S.2d 82, 107 Misc. 2d 201

tl;dr:

A man grew accustomed to a lavish lifestyle funded by a wealthy benefactress and sued for $1.5 million after their relationship ended. The agreement alleged by the man was too indefinite to be enforceable.

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Case Summary

In Trimmer v. Van Bomel (1980), a man brought a lawsuit against his former lover, a wealthy widow, claiming she'd broken an oral agreement to provide him a luxurious lifestyle in return for his company and assistance. The court dismissed the case, stating that the alleged contract was too unclear and uncertain to enforce. Additionally, the court found that there was no consideration, as the plaintiff didn't sacrifice anything or experience any disadvantage by living with the defendant. The plaintiff's trustworthiness and intentions were also questioned, implying he was only pursuing a financial gain after receiving numerous presents and money from the defendant.

This case demonstrates the challenges in enforcing oral contracts, particularly in personal relationships with ambiguous promises. It also showcases the court's hesitance to meddle in private matters between consenting adults unless enforceable agreements are present. Furthermore, the case emphasizes the necessity of consideration, which is the exchange of benefits and drawbacks, in creating binding contracts.

ICRAIssue, Conclusion, Rule, Analysis for Trimmer v. Van Bomel

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Facts & HoldingTrimmer v. Van Bomel case brief facts & holding

Facts:Trimmer (plaintiff) sued Catherine Bryer Van Bomel (defendant) for breach...

Holding:The issue in this case is whether the agreement alleged...

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Trimmer v. Van Bomel | Case Brief DeepDive
Majority opinion, author: Edward J. Greenfield, J.
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The plaintiff, a travel tour operator, is suing the defendant, an elderly widow, for failing to compensate him for their five-year relationship. The plaintiff claims they had an oral agreement in which he provided companionship and services, and the defendant covered all his expenses for extravagant living and paid him enough to maintain his luxurious lifestyle for life. The defendant filed a motion for summary judgment, arguing that the alleged agreement is too vague and indefinite to be enforced, lacks consideration, and that the plaintiff has already been paid more than the value of any services provided. The court held that an implied contract to compensate for personal services between unmarried persons living together or unmarried persons whose actions stem from mutual friendship and reciprocal regard should not be recognized. The court dismissed the second cause of action, founded in implied contract, as the plaintiff had already received a substantial amount of money from the defendant during their relationship. The court acknowledged the plaintiff's allegation of an express agreement with the defendant to set up a fund that would allow the plaintiff to live in a luxurious manner for the rest of his life, but noted that the validity of the alleged express oral contract must be tested in the same way as other contracts. The defendant has filed another motion for summary judgment based on the complete record before the court.

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