Statute of frauds problem

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Statute of frauds problem

Postby jdubb990 » Sun Dec 05, 2010 10:47 pm

Oral contract for employment. Evidence of contract is in a pair of letters from job offeror to offeree and one from offeree to offeror. In initial letter a the employer offers a year of employment but an extension of employment beyond a year is also mentioned. In the oferee's response letter, she says that she understands her job is secured for 4 years. They allow her to start working. It seems that this contract COULD be covered by the statute of frauds. But what does the common law say about the additional terms in her letter? I can't find this in my outline.

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Re: Statute of frauds problem

Postby missinglink » Sun Dec 05, 2010 11:01 pm

Off the top of my head, I can think of Last Shot Doctrine / Mirror Image rule. When the offeree sent the reply letter with additional terms, that amounts to a new offer.

And when they allowed her to work, that would operate as an acceptance of the contract. Acceptance can be manifested through words or conduct, and even silence under certain circumstances. Silence in this case sounds like the operative manifestation of assent.

Are the letters signed? It sounds like the hypo is getting at something else too, like maybe each document is lacking significant details. But taken together, they might have enough information regarding term of employment, salary, etc. Taken together, the letters might be enough to overcome a statute of frauds problem. Then of course if there's some important term that took place during the oral conversation, you've got a parol evidence problem too.

It's hard to tell without actually reading what the letters say. :)

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Re: Statute of frauds problem

Postby onthemoney » Sun Dec 05, 2010 11:16 pm

I would take a "last shot doctrine" approach. The woman responded with a (counter)offer, saying she understood the K would be for 4 years. It does not seem that the employer responded in any fashion other than allowing her to begin work. So, the final terms that were expressed by either party were the woman's 4 year clause. That should be the only K that matters. In terms of whether there was an acceptance, it would seem that by telling her to begin work, the employer has accepted the offer (objective theory).

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Re: Statute of frauds problem

Postby inchoate_con » Mon Dec 06, 2010 12:18 am

Straight out of the E&E, page 336

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