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WPI 302.06 Excuse of Performance—Estoppel

6A WAPRAC WPI 302.06Washington Practice Series TMWashington Pattern Jury Instructions--Civil

6A Wash. Prac., Wash. Pattern Jury Instr. Civ. WPI 302.06 (7th ed.)
Washington Practice Series TM
Washington Pattern Jury Instructions--Civil
April 2022 Update
Washington State Supreme Court Committee on Jury Instructions
Part XIII. Contracts
Chapter 302. Contracts—Performance and Breach
WPI 302.06 Excuse of Performance—Estoppel
(Name of party)claims that(name of party)'s [admission,] [statement,] [or] [act](describe)caused(name of party)to fail to perform according to the terms of the contract, and that(name of party)should not now be allowed to repudiate or contradict that [admission,] [statement,] [or] [act] by claiming(describe inconsistent claim).
If you find that(name of party)has proved, by clear, cogent, and convincing evidence that:
(1) (name of party)failed to perform according to the terms of the contract in reliance on(name of party)'s [admission,] [statement,] [or] [act];
(2) (name of party)reasonably relied on(name of party)'s [admission,] [statement,] [or] [act]; and
(3) (name of party)would be injured if(name of party)were allowed to contradict that [admission,] [statement,] [or] [act];
Then(name of party)'s performance according to the contract terms will be excused.
Use this instruction, instead of WPI 302.05 (Elements of Equitable Estoppel), when a party has asserted the affirmative defense of equitable estoppel in the context of a performance issue. Use this instruction when the court has determined that the evidence would warrant the application of the principle of equitable estoppel, including a determination that the non-moving party's conduct was sufficiently inconsistent with the claim that the moving party is attempting to defend.
Include all bracketed terms supported by the evidence. In the blank line marked “(describe),” describe the previous statements or conduct of the non-moving party that are alleged to have caused the moving party to change position. In the blank line marked “(describe inconsistent claim),” describe the non-moving party's trial claim (e.g., breach of contract on the basis of defendant's failure to ).
Insert an appropriate provision in WPI 300.03 (Burden of Proof on the Issues—Breach of Contract—With Affirmative Defenses).
Use this instruction with WPI 160.03 (Fraud—Burden of Proof—Combined with Preponderance of Evidence) to explain the meaning of proof by clear, cogent, and convincing evidence.
See the Comment to WPI 302.05 (Elements of Equitable Estoppel).
Estoppel may be asserted as an affirmative defense; the party asserting the defense has the burden of proof. See Comment, WPI 300.03 (Burden of Proof on the Issues—Breach of Contract—With Affirmative Defenses); CR 8(c). Equitable estoppel may be used only as a defense, acting as a shield against the enforcement of a contract, even though promissory estoppel may be used offensively to support a cause of action for damages. Chem. Bank v. Wash. Pub. Power Supply Sys., 102 Wn.2d 874, 901, 691 P.2d 524 (1984).
Each of the elements of equitable estoppel must be proved by clear, cogent, and convincing evidence. Shelcon Constr. Grp., LLC v. Haymond, 187 Wn.App. 878, 351 P.3d 895 (2015) (bank was not entitled to claim equitable estoppel where its reliance was not reasonable); Lybbert v. Grant Cnty., 141 Wn.2d 29, 35, 1 P.3d 1124 (2000); Berschauer/Phillips Constr. Co. v. Seattle Sch. Dist. No. 1, 124 Wn.2d 816, 881 P.2d 986 (1994); Robinson v. City of Seattle, 119 Wn.2d 34, 82, 830 P.2d 318 (1992).
For further discussion of the issues underlying this instruction, see DeWolf, Allen, & Caruso, 25 Washington Practice, Contract Law and Practice § 10:12 (3d ed.).
[Current as of April 2021.]
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