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McInerney v. Charter Golf, Inc.

Illinois Supreme Court
176 Ill. 2d 482 (1997)


After Dennis McInerney (plaintiff) was offered a lucrative position by one of his employer’s, Charter Golf, Inc. (Charter) (defendant), competitors, he telephoned Charter’s president to let him know he was accepting the offer. Charter’s president urged McInerney to stay with the company and promised him an equally lucrative lifetime contract of employment. McInerney could only be discharged for dishonesty or disability. McInerney accepted Charter’s offer. Three years later, the relationship between McInerney and Charter deteriorated. Charter fired McInerney. McInerney then filed suit for breach of contract. The trial court granted summary judgment to Charter, holding that the oral agreement between McInerney and Charter’s president was unenforceable under the statute of frauds because a contract for lifetime employment could not be performed within one year of its making. McInerney appealed. The appellate court affirmed the judgment of the trial court, but under a different theory. The appellate court noted that no lifetime employment contract between McInerney and Charter existed because a promise to forgo another job opportunity was insufficient consideration to enforce a lifetime employment contract. The Illinois Supreme Court granted certiorari to review.

Rule of Law


Holding and Reasoning (Heiple, J.)

Dissent (Nickels, J.)

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