Alternative Obligation Law and Legal Definition

An obligation is alternative when two things are equally due, under an alternative. The obligor is bound to render only one of two or more items of performance. Where a person engages to do, or to give several things the payment of one will acquit him of all. For example, A agrees to give B, upon a sufficient consideration, a horse, or one hundred dollars. Usually, when an obligation is alternative, the choice of the item of performance belongs to the obligor unless it has been expressly or impliedly granted to the oblige.

The following is an example of a case law ( Louisiana) on Alternative Obligation:

An obligation is alternative when an obligor is bound to render only one of two or more items of performance. La Civ. Code Ann. art. 1809. Choice belongs to the obligor. When an obligation is alternative, the choice of the item of performance belongs to the obligor unless it has been expressly or impliedly granted to the obligee. La. Civ. Code Ann. art. 1810. When the party who has the choice does not exercise it after a demand to do so, the other party may choose the item of performance. La Civ. Code Ann. art. 1811. Obligor may not choose part of one item. An obligor may not perform an alternative obligation by rendering as performance a part of one item and a part of another. La Civ. Code Ann. art. 1812. Impossibility or unlawfulness of one item of performance. When the choice belongs to the obligor and one of the items of performance contemplated in the alternative obligation becomes impossible or unlawful, regardless of the fault of the obligor, he must render one of those that remain. [Pogo Producing Co. v. Sea Robin Pipeline Co., 493 So. 2d 909 (La.App. 3 Cir. 1986)]