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Facts[]

D.C.B.'s 14-year-old son shoplifted in Zellers along with a friend. He took $59.95 worth of goods which were recovered unharmed. Legal counsel for the store wrote the mother demanding restitution of $225, failing which the store would proceed with a civil action against her in accordance with the store's policy to recover the incremental costs of shoplifting from shoplifters and, in the case of children, their parents. D.C.B. paid the $225, but after obtaining legal advice, she sought the return of these funds.

Issue[]

  1. Is forbearance to sue valid as consideration?

Decision[]

Appeal allowed.

Reasons[]

Plaintiff held that the store did not have a valid claim against D.C.B. as a parent as there was no general rule that parents were liable for the torts of their children. Plaintiff argued that the contract was not valid and, therefore, Zellers needed to pay them back the $225.00. Parents could only be liable if they were in some way negligent or had committed a tort in their personal capacities. While forbearance to sue was valid consideration for a contract, such a contract could not be upheld where the forbearer did not have a valid claim against the other party. The court ruled that the lawyers for Zellers would have known that the claim would not succeed in court. D.C.B.'s mistaken belief that the store had a valid claim against her entitled her to a refund.

Ratio[]

Forebearance to sue is valid consideration for a contract.

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