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Quote of the Day - Agreement with two people, lamentation with three. - Proverbs
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How Many Writings Does It Take To Have A Written Agremeent?

When you place a written settlement on the record in front of the Court, is it an oral agreement or a written agreement?  What if the parties agree to later produce an actual, written agreement?  Add into the mix that the parties actually wrote an agreement and one party signed it, but the other refused. 

Think about one more fact:  the court reporter produced a written copy of the agreement on the record.  The agreement, however, couldn't be performed within a year, presumably invoking the statute of frauds.  That statute requires a writing for contracts involving, among other things, agreements that take longer than a year to perform. 

To confuse matters more, the party who was to be paid under the agreement (the Plaintiff) waited more than two years, but less than four, to sue after the other party stopped making payments (the Defendant).  Oh yes, the parties did not vest continuing jurisdiction in the court, and the Plaintiff voluntarily dismissed the original case.  By now, if you're a California attorney you've probably figured out why we have this problem. 

California lawyers know that we have a four-year statute of limitations for bringing suit on a written contract, and two years to sue on an oral contract.  The Defendant in our case argued that the Plaintiff couldn't collect because he waited beyond the time to sue because the contract was only oral.  The Plaintiff obviously argued otherwise.

How do you rule? 

This Appellate Court reasoned that the "concern addressed by the statute of frauds is not present."  There were two writings that set out the terms of the agreement, more than enough to allow enforcement.   

Printer friendly page Permalink Email to a friend Posted by J. Craig Williams on Thursday, March 23, 2006 at 11:09 Comments Closed (0) |
 
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