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Breach of Contract Claims:  Must the Agreement be in writing?

Some agreements, but not all agreements, must be in writing, to be enforceable.  Your state’s “statute of frauds” laws might apply to the type of agreement at issue.

For example, in Connecticut agreements / contracts conveying real estate, must be in writing, per the statue of frauds.

“Any contract whose purpose is to transfer to one of the parties an interest in land for a price paid or to be paid to the other party is within the Statute [and should be in writing].”  (Citation omitted.)  Zipp v. JFC Endeavors, Inc., CV10-5014884, March 18, 2011 (Hon. Cynthia Swienton).  (Note that Connecticut has other statutory requirements, governing the number of witnesses and acknowledgments, on real estate deeds.)

Although seemingly simple, this is potentially a very confusing area of the law, and factual and legal arguments pertaining to the statute of frauds, might be made in litigation that are pivotal to the success or failure of claims.

Connecticut’s Statute of Frauds, General Statutes Section 52-550 is set forth below.

 

Connecticut Statutes

Title 52. CIVIL ACTIONS

Chapter 923. STATUTE OF FRAUDS

Current through the 2015 Second Special Session

  • 52-550. Statute of frauds; written agreement or memorandum
(a) No civil action may be maintained in the following cases unless the agreement, or a memorandum of the agreement, is made in writing and signed by the party, or the agent of the party, to be charged:

(1) Upon any agreement to charge any executor or administrator, upon a special promise to answer damages out of his own property;

 

(2) against any person upon any special promise to answer for the debt, default or miscarriage of another;

 

(3) upon any agreement made upon consideration of marriage;

 

(4) upon any agreement for the sale of real property or any interest in or concerning real property;

 

(5) upon any agreement that is not to be performed within one year from the making thereof; or

 

(6) upon any agreement for a loan in an amount which exceeds fifty thousand dollars.

 

(b) This section shall not apply to parol agreements for hiring or leasing real property, or any interest therein, for one year or less, in pursuance of which the leased premises have been or are actually occupied by the lessee, or any person claiming under him, during any part of the term.