The Guide is an invaluable online tool for litigation and transactional attorneys. The Guide provides for more than 70 common law causes of action:

- Each action’s elements;
- The most recent state and federal cases that cite the actions’ elements;
- The applicable statute of limitations for each action; and
- Defenses to each cause of action.
- AND, The Guide is updated annually.

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Promissory Estoppel

1 Elements and Case Citations

1. The defendant made a promise that was clear and unambiguous in its terms;
2. The promisee or a third person relied on the promise by acting, or forbearing to act;
3. The reliance was both reasonable and foreseeable;
4. The party asserting the estoppel was injured by his or her reliance (“detrimental reliance”); and
5. Injustice can be avoided only by enforcement of the promise.

West v. JPMorgan Chase Bank, N.A., 214 Cal. App. 4th 780, 803 (2013).

Because promissory estoppel is equitable in nature,“the remedy granted for breach may be limited as justice requires.” Kajima/Ray Wilson v. Los Angeles County Metro. Transportation Auth., 23 Cal. 4th 305, 310 (2000).

CALIFORNIA STATE COURTS

California Supreme Court: Kajima/Ray Wilson v. Los Angeles County Metro. Transportation Auth., 23 Cal. 4th 305, 310 (2000).

California 1st Dist.: Jolley v. Chase Home Finance, LLC, 213 Cal. App. 4th 872, 897 (2013).

California 2d Dist.: Barroso v. Ocwen Loan Servicing, LLC, 208 Cal. App. 4th 1001, 1016 (2012).

California 3d Dist.: Bushell v. JPMorgan Chase Bank, N.A., 220 Cal. App. 4th 915, 929 (2013).

California 4th Dist.: West v. JPMorgan Chase Bank, N.A., 214 Cal. App. 4th 780, 803 (2013).

California 5th Dist.: Helmer v. Bingham Toyota Isuzu, 129 Cal. App. 4th 1121, 1130 (2005).

California 6th Dist.: Moncada v. West Coast Quartz Corp., -- Cal. App. 4th --, No. H036728, 2013 Cal. App. LEXIS 943, at *18-19 (Oct. 28, 2013).

CALIFORNIA FEDERAL COURTS

United States Court of Appeal for the 9th Circuit: Sateriale v. R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co., 697 F.3d 777, 792 (9th Cir. 2012).

Central District: Babb v. Wachovia Mortgage, FSB, No.SA CV 12-02038 BRO (JPRx), 2013 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 106228, at *13 (C.D. Cal. July 26, 2013).

Eastern District: McGarvey v. JP Morgan Chase Bank, N.A., No. 2:13-cv-01099-KJM-EFB, 2013 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 147542, at *7-8 (E.D. Cal. Oct. 10, 2013).

Northern District: Rockridge Trust v. Wells Fargo, N.A., No. C-13-01457 JCS, 2013 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 139606, at *118 (N.D. Cal. Sept. 25, 2013).

Southern District: Treefrog Devs., Inc. v. Seidio, Inc., No. 13cv0158 – IEG (KSC), 2013 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 110760, at *22 (S.D. Cal. Aug. 6, 2013).

2 Defenses to Claim for Promissory Estoppel

(1) Cal. Code Civ. Proc. § 431.30(b)(2) (pleading affirmative defenses), and other standard defenses. See Chapter 1 for all defenses.

(2) Statute of Limitations: Because it is in the nature of seeking recovery based on a promise, the applicable statute of limitations is 2 years under Cal. Code Civ. Proc. § 339(1). See Jefferson v. J. E. French Co., 54 Cal. 2d 717, 718 (1960) (expressly rejecting the plaintiff’s argument “action is essentially equitable in nature and that such actions are governed by the four-year limitation of section 343” because “the nature of the underlying right sued on will determine the applicable statute.”).

(3) The doctrine of estoppel has been applied where an unconscionable injury would result from denying enforcement after one party has been induced to make a serious change of position in reliance on the contract or where unjust enrichment would result if a party who has received the benefits of the other's performance were allowed to invoke the statute. See Chavez v. Indymac Mortgage Servs., 219 Cal. App. 4th 1052, 1058 (2013).

(4) The promise must be clear and unambiguous in its terms. See Jolley v. Chase Home Finance, LLC, 213 Cal. App. 4th 872, 897 (2013).

(5) Promissory estoppel is a doctrine that operates as a substitute for consideration where a contract fails. “The purpose of this doctrine is to make a promise binding, under certain circumstances, without consideration in the usual sense of something bargained for and given in exchange.” See Youngman v. Nev. Irrigation Dist., 70 Cal. 2d 240, 249 (1969).

(6) Barred by Valid Contract: Promissory estoppel cannot be stated where there is a valid, enforceable contract between the parties. “If the promisee's performance was requested at the time the promisor made his promise and that performance was bargained for, the doctrine is inapplicable.” See Youngman v. Nev. Irrigation Dist., 70 Cal. 2d 240, 249 (1969); see Realtek Semiconductor Corp. v. LSI Corp., No. C-12-03451-RMW, 2013 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 130776, at *4 (N.D. Cal. Sept. 6, 2013).

(7) Plaintiff’s reliance on Defendant’s promise must be reasonable and foreseeable under the circumstances. See Nugent v. Fed. Home Loan Mortgage Corp., 2:12-cv-00091-GEB-EFB, 2013 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 46244, at *17 (E.D. Cal. Mar. 28, 2013).