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Hayes v. Plantations Steel Co.

Rhode Island Supreme Court
438 A.2d 1091 (R.I. 1982)


Edward Hayes (plaintiff) worked for Plantations Steel Co. (Plantations) (defendant) for 25 years. In 1972 he decided to retire at age 65. Upon his retirement announcement, Hayes met with Hugo Mainelli, an officer of Plantations. Mainelli told Hayes that Plantations “would take care” of him, but they did not sign a formal pension agreement, nor did Mainelli mention any dollar amount. Each year from 1973 to 1976, Plantations paid Hayes $5000 “as a token of appreciation for the many years of [his] service.” It was implied that the payments would continue annually and Hayes did not look for other employment after his retirement. In 1976, the Mainelli family ceded control of Plantations and the new ownership ceased payments to Hayes. Hayes brought suit against Plantations, arguing that his decision to retire constituted consideration for Plantation’s promise to pay him a pension, or in the alternative that he was entitled to the pension under the theory of promissory estoppel. The trial court ruled in favor of Hayes. Plantations appealed. 

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Holding and Reasoning (Shea, J.)

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