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  • Jeff Vail

Promissory Estoppel

Updated: Sep 5, 2020

What is Promissory Estoppel?

Promissory estoppel is a “quasi-contractual cause of action.” Pinnacol Assur. v. Hoff, 375 P.3d 1214, 1220 (Colo. 2016). That means it can provide a remedy for a party who relied on a promise, even if that promise did not create an enforceable contract. It is common to assert a claim for promissory estoppel where a party may not be able to prove a claim for breach of contract.

What are the Elements of Promissory Estoppel?

There are four elements for a claim of promissory estoppel:

(1) a promise;

(2) that the promisor reasonably should have expected would induce action or forbearance by the promisee or a third party;

(3) on which the promisee or third party reasonably and detrimentally relied; and

(4) that must be enforced in order to prevent injustice.

Cherokee Metro. Dist. v. Simpson, 148 P.3d 142, 151 (Colo. 2006). Where these elements are present, a promise becomes binding and may be enforced through the normal remedies available under contract law. Comm’rs v. DeLozier, 917 P.2d 714, 716 (Colo. 1996). View Vail Law's entire Litigation Checklist.

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