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3.14-2  Promissory Estoppel

Revised to January 1, 2008

In order to prevail on (his/her) claim of promissory estoppel the plaintiff must prove by a preponderance of the evidence 1) that the defendant made a clear and definite promise to (him/her), 2) that the defendant should reasonably have expected the plaintiff to rely on the promise, and 3) that the plaintiff did rely on the promise to (his/her) detriment.

The defendant is not liable to the plaintiff if a reasonable person in the defendant's position should not have expected the plaintiff to rely on the promise.


Stewart v. Cendant Mobility Services Corp., 267 Conn. 96, 104-106 (2003) (contrary to certain language in D'Ulisse-Cupo, a promise need not be the functional equivalent of an offer to enter into a contract for it to support a claim of promissory estoppel); D'Ulisse-Cupo v. Board of Directors of Notre Dame High School, 202 Conn. 206, 213 (1987).


If the promise alleged is a promise to enter into a contract, the promise must reflect a present intent to commit as distinguished from a mere statement of intent to contract in the future.  A mere expression of intention, hope, desire or opinion that shows no real commitment cannot be expected to induce reliance.  See Enterprise Leasing Corp. v. Dixon, 1 Conn. App. 496 (1984) (trial "court found no promise of sufficient clarity to serve as a basis for reasonably justified reliance. These findings are not clearly erroneous.")


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