Under Maryland law, a legally binding contract must be supported by consideration provided by both parties. Consideration is something of value that is bargained for and received by a promisor from a promise. In practical terms, this means both parties have to be giving up something for there to be a valid contract. Let’s do a quick example to make sure we are reading off the same page. You say you like my shirt. I say I’ll give it to you if you like it that much. Let me just wash it for you. I change my mind. We do not have a valid contract because you did not give or promise to give me anything of value. Let’s change it. You say you like my shirt. I say I’ll give it to you if you promise to drive me to the store to get myself a new one. That offer to drive me to the store is valid consideration because you now have a bargained-for exchange, albeit maybe an unfair one.
Maryland Law on Contract Consideration
Under Maryland Commercial Law Article, Section 3-303(b), consideration is defined as any consideration sufficient to support a simple contract. Like many states, Maryland courts will not get bogged down in how valuable the consideration was or whether the deal is fair. So unless there if foul play, Maryland courts will not inquire into the adequacy of value exacted for a promise so long as it has some value. Blumenthal v. Heron, 261 Md. 234, 274 A.2d 636 (1971). Even $1 in consideration may be sufficient to form a contract under Maryland law.