Promissory Estoppel (WA State)

Promissory Estoppel (WA State)

Under Washington State laws, what is the doctrine of promissory estoppel? Here's my point of view (NOTE: please read our DISCLAIMER before proceeding).


The doctrine of promissory estoppel is based upon the "principle that a promise made without consideration may nonetheless be enforced to prevent injustice if the promisor should have reasonably expected the promisee to rely on the promise and if the promisee did actually rely on the promise to the promisee's detriment." Black's Law Dictionary 591 (8th ed. 2004). Accordingly, to establish a viable claim under the doctrine of promissory estoppel, the plaintiff must show:

(1) a promise which

(2) the promisor should reasonably expect to cause the promisee to change his position and

(3) which does cause the promisee to change his position

(4) justifiably relying upon the promise, in such a manner that

(5) injustice can be avoided only by enforcement of the promise.

Chen v. State, 86 Wn.App. 183, 194 n.1 (Div. 2 1997), petition denied, 133 Wn.2d 1020, 948 P.2d 387 (1997) (citing Havens v. C & D Plastics, Inc., 124 Wash.2d 158, 172, 876 P.2d 435 (1994), quoting Klinke v. Famous Recipe Fried Chicken, Inc., 94 Wash.2d 255, 259 n. 2, 616 P.2d 644 (1980)) (emphasis added). 


"Promissory estoppel requires the existence of a promise." Id. (citing Havens, 124 Wash.2d at 172, 876 P.2d 435). "A promise is defined as 'a manifestation of intention to act or refrain from acting in a specified way, so made as to justify a promisee in understanding that a commitment has been made.'" Id. (citing Havens, 124 Wash.2d at 172, 876 P.2d 435 (quoting Restatement (Second) of Contracts, § 2(1))). 


If you would like to learn more, then consider contacting an experienced Washington State Employment Discrimination Attorney as soon as possible to discuss your case. Please note: the information contained in this article is not offered as legal advice and will not form an attorney-client relationship with either this author or Williams Law Group; please see our DISCLAIMER.


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