Illegality: Agreements Unenforceable on Grounds of Public Policy Case: Sinnar v. Le Roy (1954, WA) [pp.


Facts: Respondent, a grocery store owner, filed for a beer license, but was denied. Parties (friends) then discussed and agreed on Appellant, through a 3rd party, getting P his beer license and if not, the $450 P had given him to procure it. Issue: Whether there was illegality in the K, or its bargaining, to make the K unenforceable. Yes. Holding: K unenforceable, dismissed; no recovery for either party.

Reasoning: Since the obtaining of the beer license was agreed to be done by a 3rd party, and not the state, who actually was the only one that could legally issue beer licenses, it was considered an illegal K and unenforceable. P doesn’t get his money back. Notes: Issues where the parties all equally guilty of the illegality, but one benefits while others don’t. For example, here, the 3rd party keeps the money, and P is out of luck. May seem unfair, but the denial of K's enforceability would help public policy by deterring parties from entering into these types of agreements b/c of the lack of judicial protection. However, sometimes a guilty party ends up being rewarded for engaging in the illegal transaction. In this type of situation, the courts may allow restitution. Notes • "be careful who you give the money to" • By not giving P money back, we discourage people from getting into illegal transactions