Is there a doctor on the plane (4) : LUSENET : Lessig's Contracts : One Thread

On a transatlantic flight, an airline asks passengers whether there is a "doctor onboard." Reluctantly, a doctor announces that she is a doctor. She proceeds to save the life of an unconscious patient.

The airline, grateful, offers the doctor (in her words) some "cheap" champagne, and a $250 travel voucher. Is that consideration?

-- Anonymous, October 05, 1998


No. Following the Restatemen (roughly), this was not "bargained for" in the sense of something the party actually wanted. Following the logic of an "implied in fact" promise, the airline owes to the doctor the normal fees for service or their equivalent. It is clear the doctor does not consider the "booze and cruise" package to be the equivalent of her fees.

-- Anonymous, October 08, 1998

In Restatement 86, comment d, it is noted that a subsequent promise of restitution removes the doubt that a benefit was conveyed or that a false claim will be made. Thus, even though the arrangement is not specifically "bargained for," it is binding. The question, it brings up for me is similar to the one Christian addressed:

It seems the airline, in offering these items, has not simply made a second gift to counter the doctor's gift, but has tendered payment for a benefit conferred. Does the doctor have a right to use this promised payment to note that the presumption of her action as a gift has been defeated and then bring an action against the airline for what she considers to be a more appropriate restitution for her services?



-- Anonymous, October 12, 1998

Response to is there a doctor on the plane (4)

On the other hand, isn't the value of this promise disproportionate to the benefit (Restatement, Second, 86 (2)(b))? The promise then cannot be binding under the Restatement and cannot constitute consideration.

-- Anonymous, October 20, 1998

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