Putnam's Handy Law Book for the Layman

Statute of Frauds. - Some contracts must be in writing to comply with a statute called the Statute of Frauds, which has been enacted with variations in all the states. One of the most important sections relates to the conveyance of real estate. This requires that the agreement for its sale must be in writing. (See Agreement to Purchase Land.)

Another section relates to the sale of goods, wares and merchandise. This has not been enacted in every state. If the amount is above that mentioned in the statute, thirty to one hundred dollars, there must be a written contract or delivery and acceptance of the goods to constitute a contract. If A sells a bill of goods to B, who declines to receive them, and the contract is wholly verbal, he can shield himself behind this statute wherever it prevails. Many questions therefore arise, what is a delivery and acceptance? A delivery of a key of a [243]building containing the property is sufficient. The delivery of a bill of lading of goods properly indorsed, making entries of the goods sold, pointing them out or identifying them is enough to comply with the statute. Whenever there has been a transfer of possession and control by the seller to the purchaser to which the latter has assented there has been a sale. Or, more broadly, whenever there has been such action as to show clearly an intention to sell and accept the property the sale is complete. Part payment of the purchase money for personal property is generally regarded as showing such intention.

To a contract for the manufacture of a thing the statute does not apply. Simple as this answer may be, the law soon gets into difficulties in deciding whether a contract is for the making of a thing, or for the thing itself; whether the important element is the skill or labor that is to be expended, or the thing without regard to the process of making. Thus, if a contract is with one to paint a portrait, the statute would not apply, for the skill of the artist is the important thing purchased, and not the canvas, paint, etc., he must use. To a contract for a locomotive the statute would apply. "If the contract states or implies that the thing is to be made by the seller, and also blends together the price of the thing and compensation for work, labor, skill and material, so that they cannot be discriminated, it is not a contract of purchase and sale, but a contract of hiring and service, or a bargain by which one party undertakes to labor in a certain way for the other party," and the statute does not apply to it.


Do It Yourself Legal Forms
Law for the Laymen - Statute of Fraud
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