Cochran v. Robinhood Lane Baptist Church
Tennessee Court of Appeals
2005 WL 3527627 (2005)
The Robinhood Lane Baptist Church (Church) (defendant) paid Reverend Eugene Cochran a salary and provided additional benefits, such as cell phone and beeper services, lawn services, and gas and vehicle maintenance. The additional benefits were also provided to Reverend Cochran’s wife, Annie Cochran (plaintiff). After Reverend Cochran’s death, the Church entered into an agreement with Annie, agreeing to give her approximately $784 on the first and third Sundays of each month for five years, as well as lawn services for her home. The agreement provided that Annie would receive the benefits until her death or remarriage. Additionally, the agreement terminated all benefits that Annie previously received from the Church’s agreement with Reverend Cochran. During the five-year period, Annie declined a marriage proposal. Before the end of the five years, the Church stopped making payments to Annie. Annie filed suit against the Church for breach of contract and declaratory relief. Annie argued that her agreement with the Church contained sufficient consideration to be enforced and that she had fulfilled her role as first lady of the Church. Annie later amended the complaint to include the theory of promissory estoppel as a justification for upholding the contract. The trial court granted summary judgment to the Church. Annie appealed.
Rule of Law
Holding and Reasoning (Highers, J.)
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