The plaintiff and defendant engaged in phone calls and e-mails that unambiguously indicated an intent to be bound to all necessary terms of a transaction. The district court recognized these recorded communications between parties as enforceable contracts, and thus the statute of frauds was inapplicable. When the plaintiff abandoned the deal, the court recognized the plaintiff 's actions as a breach of contract. The plaintiff appealed. The reviewing court disagreed with part of the summary judgment, stating that "a trier of fact could have decided either way on the question of whether the email included an implication that there was a binding agreement that would have been supplemented by customary terms as a mere formality, or whether the parties were only engaged in ongoing negotiations that could have ultimately fallen apart." Further, the reviewing court concluded that the plaintiff did not produce sufficient evidence of industry standards to persuade the court that the disputed e-mail was not definite enough to represent an enforceable agreement. Since the reviewing court found ambiguity in the "agreement" on April 20, the court concluded that the case was not properly resolved at summary judgment; the court stated that "because [the ambiguity] has not been briefed or argued before us, we leave to the good judgment of the district court the issue of whether either side may now demand fact-finding on liability before a jury instead of at a bench trial." The reviewing court concluded that there was no error in the district court's damage award, or the district court's ruling of the inapplicability of the statute of frauds, but that it was up to the district court whether to revisit its findings. The court remanded for proceedings consistent with the court's opinion. If you were the reviewing court, what information would convince you that the agreement between the two parties was an enforceable contract? Why?

  • CreatedOctober 21, 2015
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