This section is from the book "The Law Of Contracts", by William Herbert Page. Also available from Amazon: Commercial Contracts: A Practical Guide to Deals, Contracts, Agreements and Promises.
The consideration to be paid may be left indefinite.1 An offer to allow "part" of the wages of an employe to be applied on a debt of his father's to his employer;2 an offer to furnish part of the money necessary to pay for a building;3 a promise to pay "part of the money" upon the rescission of a contract;4 a promise by which a prospective husband agrees to pay as dower as much as the prospective wife pays, not showing to whom such amount is to be paid or when it is to be paid;5 a promise by A and B, who wish to purchase certain property, to C, whom they asked to secure it for them, if you get us the property and it proves to be a mine, we will "whack" with you;6 a contract between a railway company and A, by which the railway company agrees to give all its repair work to A, no provision being made in the contract as to its duration, as to the price to be paid for such work, or as to which party should furnish materials;7 a promise to teach school for "good wages";8 an offer to divide certain profits with an employe on a "very liberal basis," in addition to the payment of a stipulated salary;9 a promise to pay a "fair share of profits";10 an offer that if the grain market shall advance enough to justify it, payee shall pay one of two notes for different amounts given him to hold till paid in grain;111 an offer to pay a further sum on a horse, "if he did well and had no bad luck with the horse";12 a promise made by the purchaser of a horse to give five pounds more, or the buying of another horse if the horse proved lucky;13 a promise to pay "the average price paid by other cities" for water;14 an agreement that a wholesale dealer in oil shall furnish oil to a retailer on terms so favorable that he can compete with other parties in the same territory;15 a promise to pay by transferring shares, without specifying the rate or the number;16 and a promise to satisfy one of the heirs, who were agreed on a division of the inherited property, if he should become dissatisfied,17 are each too indefinite, A promise by a railway to give a "special rate" to passengers to and from a suburb which the promisee is opening, is so vague that the courts can not determine what a "special rate" is.18 On the other hand, a contract between two mining corporations, whose mines had a common drainage, whereby one was to pump the mines and the other was to pay its "just and proper proportion" of the expense, although it did not specify the amount in dollars, nor as an aliquot proportion of the total expense,19 and a contract to produce formulas to be used by the adversary party for a "fair and equitable share of the net profits,"20 import, at least, a promise to pay reasonable compensation and are valid.
Fed. 581; Witty v. Ins. Co., 123 Ind. 411, 18 Am. St. Rep. 327, 8 L. R. A. 365, 24 N. E. 141.
1 Guthing v. Lynn, 2 B. ft Ad. 232; Arundel Realty Co. v. Maryland Electric Rys. Co., 116 Md. 267, 81 Atl. 787; Butler v. Kemmerer, 218 Pa. St. 242, 67 Atl. 332.
2 Vansickle v. Ferguson, 122 Ind. 450, 23 N. E. 858.
3 Thomas v. Shooting Club, 123 N. Car. 286, 31 S. E. 654.
4 Burney v. Jones, 140 Ga. 758, 70 8. E. 840.
5 Goldstein v. Goldstein, 86 N. J. Eq. 351, 98 Atl. 835.
6 Schook v. Zimmerman, 188 Mich. 617, 155 N. W. 526.
7 Ashley, D. & N. Ry. Co. v. Baggott, 125 Ark. 1, 187 S. W. 649.
8 Fairplay, etc., Township v. O'Neal, 127 Ind. 95, 26 N. E. 686.
9 Butler v. Kemmerer, 218 Pa. St. 242, 67 Atl. 332.
10 Varney v. Ditmars, 217 N. Y. 223, 111 N. E. 822.
11 Thomson v. Gortner, 73 Md. 474, 21 Atl. 371.
12 Burks v. Stam, 65 Mo. App. 455.
13 Guthing v. Lynn, 2 B. & Ad. 232.