Breach of Contract/Promissory Estoppel

  1. Introduction

    A WMC victim could bring a breach of contract/promissory estoppel claim alleging the defendant with whom the plaintiff had a contract with for use of a photograph or video breached the scope of consent agreed to by the parties. Plaintiffs should be aware of releases in the contract that define the scope of distribution permitted for the materials in question. If a written contract does not control the use, a plaintiff can bring a claim for promissory estoppel, arguing the defendant has been unjustly enriched by the use of plaintiff’s image.

  2. Elements

      To prove the breach of an express contract, a plaintiff must show:

        (1) The existence of a contract, including its essential terms;

        (2) Breach of a duty imposed by the contract; and

        (3) Resulting damages.1

      To allege promissory estoppel, a plaintiff must show:

        (4) A promise;

        (5) Where the promisor should reasonably expect to induce action or forbearance on the part of the promisee or a third person;

        (6) The promise does induce such action or forbearance;

        (7) Injustice can be avoided only by enforcement of the promise.2

  3. Cases

    None with applicable facts at this time.

  1. CoreStates Bank, N.A. v. Cutillo, 723 A.2d 1053, 1058 (Pa. Super. Ct. 1999). 

  2. Kreutzer v. Monterey Cty. Herald Co, 560 Pa. 600, 606, 747 A.2d 358, 361 (2000) (citing Restatement (Second) of Contracts § 90).