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Contracts II
Stetson University School of Law
Morrissey, Joseph F.

STATUTE OF FRAUDS
 
            DEF: a statute that requires specified types of K’s to be in writing in order to be binding (Restatements 110; 303-314)
 
CLASSES OF CONTRACTS COVERED:
            (1) Executor-administrator
            (2) suretyship
            (3) marriage proposal
            (4) land contract
            (5) over one-year à has to be performed! (not terminated)
            (6) sale of goods over $500
 
ANALYSIS:
            1) Is the K at issue one of the types to which the Statute of Frauds applies, so that a                                           signed memorandum will be required for its enforcement?
                                    no – do not apply statute of frauds
                                    yes – (go to 2)
            2) Is the Statute of Frauds satisfied?
                        (is there some sort of written statement of its terms signed by the “party to be bound” – think crabtree)
                                    no – (go to 3)
                                    yes – K enforceable
Ø Can also be electronic (E-Sign act à any symbol, pretty broad standard)
            3) Are there other factors in the case, such as performance or reliance by P, which might
                        invoke an exception?
(the P will still have to prove their case – the parties went thru with the K and to not enforce would be unjust!)
                                    no – K not enforceable
                                    yes – K enforceable
 
UCC:
            §2-201: The Sale of Goods Statute of Frauds
 
RESTATE.:
            §110: Classes of contracts covered
            §130: Contract Not to Be Performed Within a Year
            §131: General Requisites of a Memorandum
            §132: Several Writings
            §133: Memorandum Not Made as Such
            §134: Signature
 
CASES:
 
            Crabtree v. Elizabeth Arden Sales Corp.
                        Facts: Crabtree was hired by Arden to be Arden’s sales manager. No formal K was
                                                signed but separate writings pieced together showed Crabtree to have been                                                             hired for a 2-year term w/ pay raises after the first and             second 6 months.                                                          When Crabtree did not receive his 2nd pay raise, he sued for damages.
 
                        Rule: Separate writings, connected as to subject matter and occasion, may be pieced
                                                together to find an enforceable K under the Statute of Frauds.
Ø Takes majority view à since sufficient connection since there is a mere reference (as opposed to the minority view where reference needs to be sufficient specificity!). The criticism here is that you can read crabtree liberally where any document can be linked!.
 
 
            Alaska Democratic Party v. Rice
                        Facts: When Rice was promised a job that never materialized, she sued on a theory of                                      PE.
 
                        Rule: A promise which the promisor should reasonably expect to induce action or
                                                forbearance on the part of the promisee or a third person and which does
                                                induce the action or forbearance is enforceable notwithstanding the Statute of
                                                Frauds if injustice can be avoided only by enforcement of the promise ;
Rule: P’s burden is clear and convincing evidence; So this is an exception to the SOF since ct used PE
[restatements 325, section 139]  
Impt notes à CISG international goods; UCC domestic goods. Article 11 of CISG states that you DON’T need in writing (thus no SOF). Shows that U.S is reluctant to trust human nature
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
PRINCIPLES OF INTERPRETATION
 
Rule of Interpretation: READ THE LANGUAGE AND USE COMMON SENSE
 
RESTATE.:
            §201: Whose Meaning Prevails àif both agree, use that meaning!
            §202: Rules in Aid of Interpretation
            §203: Standards of Preference in Interpretation
            §204: Supplying an Omitted Essential Term
            §206: Interpretation Against the Draftsman
            §207: Interpretation Favoring the Public
 
PRINCIPLES OF INTERPRETATION:
            1) purpose – to get to what the parties meant
            2) subjective – the meeting of the minds
                        ~ kicked out, b/c hard to know what is in someone else’s mind
            3) objective –
            4) modern – hybrid approach
                        ~ did the parties agree on the meaning (go ahead and use that meaning)
CANONS OF INTERPRETATION:   (pg 358)
            1) Noscitur a sociis: a word in a series is affected by others in the same series; or
                                                                        a word may be affected by its immediate context.
            2) Ejusdem generis: a general term joined w/ a specific one will be deemed to include only
                                                                                    things that are like the specific one;
            3) Expressio unius exclusion alterius: if one or more specific items are listed, w/o any more
                                                                                                                                    general or inclusive terms, other items although
                                                                                                                                    similar in kind are excluded.
            4) Ut magis valeat quam pereat: an interpretation that makes the K valid is preferred to
                                                                                                                        one that makes it invalid.
            5) Omina praesumuntur contra proferentem: if a written K contains a word or phrase which
                                                                                                is capable of two reasonable meanings, one of which favors
                                                                                 

    Rule: The party who seeks to interpret the terms of the K in a sense narrower than
                                                their everyday use bears the burden of persuasion to so show, and if that party
                                                fails to support its burden, it faces dismissal of its complaint.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
PAROL EVIDENCE RULE
 
            DEF: excludes extrinsic evidence, exceptions prevail;
 
             doctrine precluding parties to an agreement from introducing evidence of prior or
                        contemporaneous agreements in order to repudiate or alter the terms of a written K.       
            general rule: anything outside of the “four corners” is excluded, we can always bring in
                                                            information to clarify, if the agreement is fully complete or integrated then                                                    you can bring in no more information except that which is meant to clarify                                                             terms/items
            can always bring in information to clarify
            if an incomplete agreement then can bring in parol evidence to supplement
            evidence outside the written word, usually it is oral evidence;
                        – parol evidence can be anything else and oral conversations
            usually oral evidence is not admissible;
                        – Why?, Lord Byron: “the slippery slope of memory”
            extrinsic evidence;
            always looking for a merger agreement
            exceptions: fraud, duress, undue influence, incapacity, mistake, or illegality
            traditionalist: only if there is a patent ambiguity, then can bring in information to clarify
            modern: bring me anything to clarify, no matter if the ambiguity is patent or latent
 
            PAROL EVIDENCE: extrinsic evidence outside the “four corners” of the K;
 
            EXTRINSIC EVIDENCE: evidence that is not contained w/in the text of a document or K
                                                                                                but      which is derived from the parties statements or the                                                                                                              circumstances under which the agreement was made
 
                        anything outside the “four corners” of the written agreement;