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ch17 - Chapter 17 WRITING ELECTRONIC FORMS&...

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Unformatted text preview: Chapter 17 WRITING, ELECTRONIC FORMS, & INTERPRETATION OF CONTRACTS Statute of Frauds Oral agreements are generally enforceable. However certain agreements must be in writing and signed to be enforceable under the Statute of Frauds. 2 Contracts That Must Be In Writing An agreement that cannot be performed within one year after the contract is made, A sale of any interest in real property, A promise to answer for the debt of another, A promise by the executor of an estate to pay a claim against the estate from personal funds, A promise made in consideration of marriage, The sale of goods for a price of $500 or more. Local statutes may include other types of contracts, such as a contract between a landowner and a real estate agent. 3 Contracts and the Statute of Frauds Contracts That Must Be in Writing Land Sales Mortgages Options Contracts Not to Be Performed Within One Year Promise to Pay the Debt of Another Estates and Personal Representative Guarantor/Surety Promise to Marry Sales of Goods $500 or More Part Performance Merchant's Confirmation Memo Specially Manufactured Goods 4 Exceptions Part Performance Payment and Possession Improvement Executed Contracts Signatures The written contract must be signed by the defendant against whom suit is brought in order for a contract to be enforced. The signing may be made by printing, stamping, typewriting, or any other means that is intended to identify that party. E-Signatures can be enforceable under E-Sign and UETA. 5 Effect of Non-Compliance To avoid unjust enrichment, a plaintiff barred from enforcing an oral contract may recover from the other contracting party the reasonable value of the benefits conferred by the plaintiff on the defendant. To prevent the statute of frauds from being used to defraud a party to an oral contract, the courts by decision have made certain exceptions to the statute of frauds. 6 Parol Evidence Rule Prohibits introduction at trial of oral statements to add to/modify or contradict the written agreement that is fully integrated or otherwise complete. Some courts have liberalized the rule so that parol evidence is admitted when it will aid in interpreting the writing. 7 Exceptions to Parol Evidence Rule The parol evidence rule does not bar evidence when the writing is incomplete or ambiguous when: There are allegations of fraud, duress, mistake or illegality; A contract has been modified. 8 Rules of Construction and Interpretation Intention of the Parties. Contradictory/Ambiguous Terms. Is there a contract? If so, what are the terms? Implied Terms: Good faith and fair dealing. Conduct and Custom. Avoidance of Hardship. Generally a party is bound by a "bad" agreement, but a court will try to avoid hardship. 9 ...
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