Wednesday, December 11, 2013

C.R. Klewin, Inc. v. Flagship Properties, Inc. case brief

C.R. Klewin, Inc. v. Flagship Properties, Inc. case brief summary
600 A.2d 772 (1991)


CASE SYNOPSIS
This certified question came to the court from the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit, which posed the sole question of whether a provision of the state's statute of frauds, particularly Conn. Gen. Stat. § 52-550 (a) (5), rendered unenforceable an oral contract. The contract between plaintiff construction corporation and defendant real estate developers failed to specify explicitly the time for performance.

CASE FACTS
The corporation and the developers had entered into an oral contract that failed to specify explicitly the time for performance when performance of that contract within one year of its making was exceedingly unlikely. The matter came before the court pursuant to a certified question from the federal court of appeals.

DISCUSSION

  • The court examined the state's statute of frauds and the interpretive case law and held that: 
  • 1.) A contract was not within the statute of frauds, particularly Conn. Gen. Stat. § 52-550 (a) (5), unless its terms were so drawn that it could not by any possibility be performed fully within one year; 
  • 2.) Under the prevailing interpretation, the enforceability of a contract under the one-year statutes of frauds provision did not turn on the actual course of subsequent events, nor on the expectations of the parties as to the probabilities; 
  • 3.) Under the statute of frauds, the parties' oral contract was, as a matter of law, enforceable as the functional equivalent of a contract of indefinite duration; and 
  • 4.) In light of the unbroken line of authority, the legislature approved of the restrictive interpretation that the court gave to the one-year provision.

CONCLUSION
The court held that the oral contract that did not say, in express terms, that performance was to have a specific duration beyond one year was, as a matter of law, the functional equivalent of a contract of indefinite duration for the purposes of the statute of frauds. The court ordered that no costs would be taxed in the court to either party.


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