Crabtree v. Elizabeth Arden Sales Corp

Crabtree v. Elizabeth Arden Sales Corp - Contracts 10/20...

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Contracts 10/20 Statute of Frauds Crabtree v. Elizabeth Arden Sales Corp, New York Court of Appeals, 1953 Facts : Crabtree orally agreed to a 2-year contract with defendant (cosmetics manufacturer/seller). He would receive $20,000/yr for the first 6 months, $25,000/yr for the next 6 months, and $30,000 for the second year. He would also get $5,000/yr for expenses. When he reported for work, a “pay-roll change” card was made and initialed by the GM. After 6 months, Crabtree received his increase in salary, but after 1 year, he didn’t. The GM and comptroller said they would try to straighten it out. The comptroller prepared a signed “pay-roll change” card noting the payroll increase. Miss Arden refused and the plaintiff quit and filed a claim for breach of contract. Procedure : at trial, defendant denied the existence of any agreement to employ plaintiff for 2 years and further contended that, even if one had been made, the statute of frauds barred its enforcement. The trial court found against the defendant on both issues and awarded plaintiff $14,000. The Appellate Division affirmed. Issue : Since the contract relied upon was not to be performed within a year, the primary question is whether there was a memorandum of its terms, subscribed by defendant, to satisfy the statute of frauds. Court’s explanation : Each of the two payroll cards – the one initialed by the defendant’s GM, the other signed by its comptroller – unquestionably constitutes a memorandum.
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