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Alden v. Vernon Presley

Tennessee Supreme Court
637 S.W.2d 862 (1982)


Facts

Alden’s (plaintiff) daughter had dated and become engaged to Elvis Presley. Because of the relationship with her daughter, among other things, Presley had offered to pay for Alden’s divorce from her husband, to purchase the husband’s equity in the home and to pay off the remaining debt on the home. Based upon these promises, Alden filed for divorce. Presley died before he could pay off the debt on the home, but fulfilled all of his other promises. Presley’s estate (defendant) refused to accept responsibility for the debt. As a result of this refusal, Alden settled with her husband by assuming the debt for the house and responsibility for the mortgage. However, Alden later refused to honor the agreement, which was never binding as the agreement was never submitted to the court. Alden filed suit. The trial court held for Presley’s estate, holding that the promise to pay the debt was merely a gift that was not fulfilled. Alden appealed. The court of appeals affirmed the trial court holding there was no gift. However, the court of appeals reversed the trial court decision regarding promissory estoppel, holding that Mrs. Alden had undergone sufficient forbearance in reliance upon Presley’s promise. Presley’s estate appealed to the Supreme Court of Tennessee.

Rule of Law

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Holding and Reasoning (Fones, J.)

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