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 When the leading object of the promise or agreement is to become guarantor or surety to the promisee for a debt for which a third party is and continues to be primarily liable, the agreement, whether made before or after or at the time with the promise of the principal, is within the statute, and not binding unless evidenced by writing. On the other hand, when the leading object of the promisor is to subserve some interest or purpose of his own, notwithstanding the effect is to pay or discharge the debt of another, his promise is not within the statute. [2 Corbin on Contracts § 366, at 273-74 (1950)] For an excellent brief history of this rule, see, Grether, 'Caveat Promisee: Nebraska's 'New Consideration' Test and the Anachronistic Statute of Frauds,' 33 Neb. L. Rev. 577, 581-86 (1954).


Although the leading object or main purpose rule has been widely accepted, neither courts nor commentators have reached agreement as to the analytical method that courts should adopt and follow in determining whether a particular set of facts does or does not come within the scope of the rule. Professor Williston identified eight different tests as having been ...

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