Is promissory estoppel relevant to Samantha’s dispute with Dave from ‘Outrageous Costumes’?

Is Will entitled to two free tickets for helping set up for the school play?

 

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PROBLEM

Samantha is a high school drama teacher responsible for organising the end-of-year school drama production. This year Samantha wishes to present her own comedy play – ‘Smurfs in Space’. Samantha is responsible for all aspects of the production including costuming, catering and set up. She has been encouraged to access volunteer resources where possible – including the school’s ‘Parents and Friends Association’. Samantha only has two weeks to get it all organised.

Samantha is aware of a 16 year old student – Julie – who has set up her own catering from home project – preparing cakes and sandwiches for school events. Samantha speaks to Julie after class and asks whether she can prepare cakes and sandwiches for 100 people.

Julie says ‘Yes I can. I will need one weeks’ notice and the price/charge will be $5 per person, so $500 in total’. Samantha says ‘I will need to think about it for a day or two.’ Julie says ‘send me a Facebook message if you want me to proceed. I have a Facebook page – Awesome Cakes and Catering – where I take all our orders’. Later that week Samantha sends a text message to Julie’s phone, that says ‘go ahead with the cakes and sandwiches as we discussed’.

Julie uses ingredients out of her parents’ household fridge and cupboard to make the sandwiches and cakes. Julie’s mum Martha asks Julie to pay her back for the ingredients and Julie refuses. Martha contacts Samantha directly and says ‘Julie has used all my ingredients – you need to give me $100 out of the $500 Julie is to be paid to reimburse me’.

Samantha also needs costumes so she looks online and finds a website for ‘Outrageous Costumes’. She sends an email to Dave saying she needs three Smurf space suits, with extra silver and blue. Dave writes an email back saying that he can do this for her – he just needs to know the size of the costumes required. Dave also writes ‘Silver and Blue material is extra expensive. I rarely use it and will have to order it in specially’. Samantha immediately writes back and says ‘please go ahead and order the material – I will provide the measurements the week before the production’. Samantha also writes ‘we don’t have much time to get this all organised’. One week later Dave rings Samantha and leaves her a message, saying he has received the material, and unless he hears back from her, he will go ahead and start making the costumes. Samantha hears the message but ignores it, as a parent from the ‘Parents & Friends Association’ has offered to make the costumes for free. Two days before the school production, Samantha remembers she hasn’t spoken to Dave and rings him up to cancel the order. Dave is upset as he has nearly finished the costumes and will not be able to reuse them.

On the morning of the play Samantha realises she has no-one to assist with setting up. Samantha sends an email out to all parents saying ‘Attention all Parents – we need some volunteers to help set up for tonight’s play. The first 10 parents to arrive at 12.00 pm today to assist with the set up will receive two free tickets to tonight’s performance.’ Will is the older brother of a student who is performing in the play. Will sees the email and decides he wishes to watch the play. Will is amongst the first 10 people to arrive and assists with the setup of the play.

 

1. Is there an enforceable contract between Samantha and Julie?

 

2. Assuming there is an enforceable contract between Julie and Samantha, does Samantha need to pay $100 to Julie’s mother Martha?

 

3. Is promissory estoppel relevant to Samantha’s dispute with Dave from ‘Outrageous Costumes’?

 

4. Is Will entitled to two free tickets for helping set up for the school play?

 

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