TO : Supervising Attorney
FROM : Purity Muhia
DATE : July 29, 2010
SUBJECT : Statute of Frauds
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In reference to the above-mentioned case, a businesswoman by the name of Rebecca was interviewed and given an offer for employment by the Big Firm while she was searching for a job. This firm proffered to give her a salary of $50,000 per year but as taking up this job meant that Rebecca had to move far away from her friends and family, she asked for reassurance that she would be employed in the firm for at least two years if not more and she even wrote a letter to the firm in which she mentioned this agreement that they had made. Rebecca then commenced her employment on May 1, 2007, but was unfortunately terminated on January 1, 2008. After the unfortunate incident, she approached our firm and has claimed to sue the Big Firm for wrongful termination and breach of employment.
The statute of frauds is a collective expression used to describe statutory provisions that require certain kinds of contracts to be in writing so that they can be implemented. This kind of contract should be signed by all parties involved and thus are going to be bound by the contract. In addition to this, it should site the main theme of the contract such that one can easily recognize it and also present the necessary terms and conditions of the contract. The statute of fraud is a tool that is usually used to avoid damage from fraudulent behavior and is therefore used as a defense when there is a breach of contract. (Larson 2003)
After thoroughly studying the aforementioned case of Rebecca, I do not believe that she has a viable suit to sue for breach of contract. This is because, despite the Big Firm having assured her of employment for two years, it was evidently through word of mouth as implied in the letter that she wrote to the Big Firm. However, there was no formal contract and neither was there a signing of any kind of pact. The statute of fraud clearly states that it is only enforceable if the contract is fully in writing as well as having being signed by all parties bound by the contract. (Williams 1932). If Rebecca had asked for a signed contract before she took up the job, then it would have been possible to sue the company.
The reason why it is impossible to sue the company using this law is because the statute of frauds does not apply to any purported contract as is the case of Rebecca. There are many fraudulent cases whereby people come up with false accounts of alleged contracts and in such cases, it becomes hard to decide the legitimacy of the claim (Larson 2003). Thus, it becomes very difficult to prove and implement the contract without the existence of a written agreement.
Going by the letter that Rebecca has as evidence, there was evidently no contract that was made between her and the Big Firm. The letter is only proof of a promise made to her by the company. This is very different from a formal contract which should have a clearly stated subject matter, names of contracting parties and be signed by the company. If the company felt she was not delivering to their satisfaction, they had the right to terminate her employment. The signature of the company is usually the evidence of a commitment that was made and hence backing out of such a contract is harder as compared to a promise. Due to the lack of contractual evidence, Rebecca cannot claim a breach of commitment or wrongful termination.
Larson, A. (2003). The Statute of Frauds and Contract Law. Law Offices of Aaron Larson, 15, 22-23
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Williams, J. (1932). The Statute of frauds: section four, in the light of its judicial interpretation. London: Oxford University Press