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Crabtree v. Elizabeth Arden Sales Corp.

Crabtree v. Elizabeth Arden Sales Corp.

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Published by crlstinaaa

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Published by: crlstinaaa on Apr 08, 2008
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial

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09/27/2012

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Case: Crabtree v. Elizabeth Arden Sales Corp.Parties: Plaintiff - Crabtree (former employee of defendant)Defendant - Elizabeth Arden (employer)Procedural History: Trial court found against defendant, appellant courtaffirmed, and defendant appeals.Facts: Crabtree was seeking employment with defendant and specified that hewould only accept a position for $25k/year with a 3 year employment contract, dueto the risks he was taking accepting that position. Defendant offered him (writtenas a memo, but unsigned) $20k first 6 mos., $25k 2nd 6 mos., and $30k after 1year, with a 2 year employment contract. Crabtree accepted. He rec'd the payrollincrease from $20k to $25k, but did not receive the $30k increase at the end ofthe 1st year. The payroll cards for Crabtree were signed and stamped by (1)general manager, and (2) comptroller, and they noted the previously mentionedsalary increases. Crabtree informed the comptroller that he had a contract withMiss Arden, and when it was attempted to be straightened out, Miss Arden refusedto approve the additional pay increase. Crabtree then left his employment andcommenced this action for breach of contract.Issue: As the contract relied upon was not performed within a year, wasthere a memorandum of its terms, subscribed by defendant, to satisfy the statuteof frauds?Holding: The court affirmed a judgment in favor of plaintiff in a breachof contract action related to an employment contract.Rule:The Statute of Frauds (Personal Property Law, 31) which states that anagreement not to be performed within one year is void unless "some note ormemorandum thereof be in writing, and subscribed by the party to be charged."Reasoning: The court held that an unsigned office memorandum, togetherwith two signed payroll cards, were sufficient under the statute of frauds, N.Y.Pers. Prop. Law 31, to establish an employment contract with a tenure of twoyears. All three documents referred on their face to the same transaction and theterms under which plaintiff would be employed by defendant, and contained all ofthe essential terms of the contract between the parties. The court therefore heldthat the length of the contract could be established through reference to theunsigned office memorandum without violating the statute of frauds.NotesStatute of frauds argues (defense) - theres no writing (memo wasn't signed)Court adopts a subject matter test/transaction test - memo that states the 2year contract wasn't signed.But they have the payroll cards that refer to same thing.Court says there is a sufficient connection between papers - b/c all papersrefer to same transactionParole evidence rule: don't go outside of the contract. Determinationsbased on what is contained in the document. Rather not rely on oral testimony ifthey don’t have to, but will if there is an ambiguity or disconnect.Court talks about allowing the defendant to make oral testimony in thisparticular case?b/c they are not concerned about fraud in this context, so they would

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