McKinnon v. Benedict


–          1960 – Benedict bout a land purchase contract from the previous owners and borrowed 5000 from McKinnon, who’s land the contract was on…It was for 80 acres of 1,000 total acres…Upon getting the loan, McKinnon promised help in getting business and made Benedict promise to cut down not trees or make no improvements close to the property.

–          1964 – Benedict failed to get camp started, already re-paid the original loan of 5000.

–          McKinnon was always away and used land as vacationing; he was very wealthy where Benedict was not.

–          1965 – Benedict bout a trailer park and a tent camp and invested 9000 in bulldozing and installing utilities

  • Benedict brought suit in 1965.

–          Plaintiffs Argument

  • Have no adequate remedy of law.

–          Courts reasoning

  • Only $ consideration was an interest free loan (7months) of 5k
  • McKinnon had feeble attempts to “help try” get the land going.
    • Benedicts have sacrificed  their right to make lawful and reasonable use of their property
  • Benedict was not able to deal at “arms length” – obviously did not have money to barter fairly with McKinnon
  • Basically didn’t pay the Benedict’s anything – took out a 5g’s loan interest free and re-paid them 7 months later.
  • McKinnon, no sharp practice, dishonesty, or overreaching on the part of McKinnon
  • McKinnon thought value of land dropped 50g’s, however the agreement even at the time of execution was unfair based upon inadequate consideration.

Procedural History

–          Supreme Court of Wisconsin.

–          1965 – Made Benedict stop from making improvements, (Benedict appealed).


–          Was this transaction to unfair to be enforced by law?


–          YES.


–          The inadequacy of consideration is so gross as to be unconscionable and a bar to the plaintiffs invocation of the extraordinarily equitable powers of the court.

–          R§208-  if a contract is unconscionable  at the time of the contract, a court may refuse to enforce the contract, or may enforce the remainder of the contract without the unconscionable term, or may so limit the application of any unconscionable term to avoid any unconscionable result.


–          Contracts that are oppressive will not be enforced and restrictions of the use of law are not favored either. (doubtful exists, favor of free use of property).

–          There are benefits to McKinnon they are more than outweighed by the oppressive terms

  • Only spend summer months there, and testimony showed that McKinnon could not see the trailer during these months.
  • Equitable claim for McKinnon is minimal, where damage against benedicts is severe.

–          1) Inadequacy of consideration, 2) small benefit for McKinnon 3) oppressive conditions imposed upon the b\Benedicts.

–          Even though it’s enforceable by law, the courts do not need give equitable remedies from one who suffers such harshness and oppression.


–          Reversed, did not allow the Benedicts to get equitable remedies.


–          R§89

  • A promise modifying a duty under a contract not fully performed on either side is binding
    • If the modification is fair and equitable

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