Illinois Courts define promissory estoppel as a promise which the promisor should reasonably expect to induce action or forbearance on the part of the promisee or a third person and which does induce such action or forbearance is binding if injustice can be avoided only by enforcement of the promise. Restatement (Second) of Contracts § 90(1), at 242 (1981). To establish a claim for promissory estoppel in Illinois, the plaintiff must prove that the defendant made an unambiguous promise to plaintiff, the plaintiff relied on such promise, the plaintiff’s reliance was expected and foreseeable by defendants, and the plaintiff relied on the promise to its detriment. Newton Tractor Sales, Inc. v. Kubota Tractor Corporation, 233 Ill.2d 46, 906 N.E.2d 520, 329 Ill.Dec. 322 (2009).
Promissory estoppel may be an option for a party to recover without the presence of a contract. Newton Tractor Sales, Inc. v. Kubota Tractor Corporation (2009). Under the doctrine of promissory estoppel although there may be absent a bargain for consideration, a person who makes a promise may nonetheless be bound by its terms. Bank of Marion v. Robert Fritz, Inc., 57 Ill.2d 120, 311 N.E.2d 138 (1974). Promissory estoppel is most extensively recognized as a defensive measure with respect to the abandonment of existing legal rights. Newton Tractor Sales, Inc. v. Kubota Tractor Corporation (2009). However, in Illinois and other states, the Courts also understand promissory estoppel as an offensive theory of recovery, or cause of action, in any situation where one party relies on the promise of another party to its detriment in such a manner that it would be an injustice not to enforce the promise. See id.
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