Tuckwiller v. Tuckwiller

Procedural History

–          Trial Court in favor of Plaintiff

–          Affirmed Supreme Court of Missouri


–          Mrs. Morrison was 70 years old, and owned half of a farm (160 total acres), then came back after she got Parkinson’s disease…Mrs. Morrison (John’s aunt) urged Mrs. Tuckwiller to quit her job and take care of her for the rest of her life.

–          On May 3rd, Mrs. Morrison signed a paper written by Mrs. Tuckwiller stating that she will take care of her for the duration of her life, and in return, she would receive her stake of land for around $33,000.

–          May 6th, Mrs. Tuckwiller resigned from her job and Mrs. Morrison made an appt. to changer her will – on this date she fell ill and eventually died without changing her will.

–          Mrs. Tuckwiller brought specific performance of the contract, denied by the college and the executor.

–          Plaintiff

  • Gave up her employment.
  • Undertook an obligation that was unknown in duration and hardness.

–          Defendant

  • Prior services cannot provide the consideration essential to a binding contract
    • But such prior services and the past relation of the parties may properly be considered in connection with the fairness of the contract and the adequacy of consideration.
    • Does not want specific performance.
      • Brief duration of services used and their value in comparison with the value of the farm, plaintiff should be obliged to accept the offered payment of the reasonable value of her services rendered- maybe 1%.


–          At the time the contract was formed, was it unconscionable?


–          No.


–          If and when a contract is formed, the courts look at when the contract was made to determine unconscionability and fairness.

–          “Once the essential fairness of the contract and the adequacy of the consideration are found, the fact that the subject of the contract is real estate answers any question of adequacy of the legal remedy of monetary damages.

  • Give specific performances on property, can’t give a breach reward…wouldn’t work out.


–          Courts look at unconscionability and unfairness of consideration at the time the contract was made, not after.

–          Viewed from the view point of Mrs. Morrison the contract was not unfair.

  • She valued Mrs. Tuckwiller’s services and appreciated her care prior to the arrangement.
  • Having no family to give her inheritance to, she felt like she did not need something of equal value in return.
  • Insistence that contract be witnessed shows that she wanted it to go thru.

–          ***At time of the contract***


–           Affirmed in favor of the plaintiff.

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