Facts: Sun Valley owned a little over 1.5 acres of an undeveloped lot. Hoffman took him to court to constrain certain performances that were in the agreement. While this was in district court, the judge decided “while an oral understanding for the sale of the property existed, there was nevertheless failure to adequately comply with the statue of frauds and thus the agreement was unenforceable.” District court decided that while the oral agreement for the sale of property existed, it didn’t abide by the statute of frauds which made the agreement unenforceable. Hoffman appealed the decision that was made by the district court and Sun Valley argued that they had never reached a mutual agreement on the terms of the transaction.
Issue: Is there an enforceable contract to sell the property of Sun Valley? Are the two documents, the letter and check, sufficient to satisfy the statutory requirements?
1) Was there an oral agreement and is there sufficient memorandum signed by the parties that evidences the agreement so that the statute of frauds is satisfied?
Holding: Yes and No. Yes, the parties did come to an oral mutual agreement on the sale of the parties, however, the agreement did not comply with the statute of frauds and the agreement is not enforceable.
(1) The parties did have a mutual agreement
(2) Check issued by purchaser and letter written by purchaser was insufficient as memorandum to take verbal agreement out of statute of frauds
(3) Actions taken by purchasers were insufficient to establish part performance to take contract out of statute of frauds
Majority Opinion Reasoning: Justice Shepard
1) A contract requires that the parties have a distinct understanding of what is agreed upon.
2) An agreement for the sale of real property is invalid unless the agreement or some note or memorandum thereof be in writing and subscribed by the party. Failure to comply with the statute of frauds renders an oral agreement unenforceable both in an action at law for damages and in a suit in equity for specific performance.
i. Idaho requires that both parties sign the documents while the rest of other jurisdictions require only one party to sign the documents
3) Sufficient part performance by a purchaser of real property removes the contract from the operation of the statute of frauds
1) The parties had negotiated the purchase price which was then approved by the executive committee. The agreed upon price was $90,000 which could be paid in cash or they could do a 30% down payment on the land. Hoffman sent Sun Valley a check and an email which listed additional terms.
2) The sale agreement was never signed by Sun Valley.
3) Hoffman says he exercised buyer rights because they had someone come survey the land.
Concurring Opinion(s) Reasoning: Bakes, C.J., McFadden and Donaldson, JJ, concur
Dissenting Opinion(s) Reasoning: Bistline
Bistline says Idaho law is outdated and it needs to be changed. If parties have as much or equal documentation like these parties and it doesn’t meet the requirements for Statute of Frauds, then Idaho’s law is inadequate to accommodate business transactions in today’s world. Idaho law is not in line with the majority of jurisdiction and should follow others toward a more updated and modern law. Court should consider whether this law and its application is outdated and in need of change.
Facts: The “Carolina Cougars” were a basketball club who sued a professional basketball player named William Cunningham. The Cougars were suing him for a violation of contract due to the fact that he was doing services at other clubs besides the Cougars. Under the district court, they found that “If Cunningham had failed and refused to perform his contract, plaintiffs had unclean hands and had breached their contract with Cunningham.” Due to this, the court denied this case. They later appealed the decision of the court.
Issue: Was the contract for Cunningham assignable to the new owners?
Holding: While normally “a personal service contract requiring special skills cannot be assigned without the consent of the party rendering those services.” But in S. Williston contracts it states that “such contracts may be assigned when the character of the performance and the obligation will not be changed.” So I would say that yes, Cunningham’s contract was assignable to the new owners
Majority Opinion Reasoning: Circuit Judge Winter
b) Application: Because Cunningham was not required to perform differently between the two teams its not considered a breach of contract. Due to that, Cunningham would win this case.
Concurring Opinion(s) Reasoning: None
Dissenting Opinion(s) Reasoning: None