Designer Skin LLC v. S & L Vitamins, Inc., et al.
Shattuck v. Klotzbach
Civ. Act. No. 01-1109A (Superior Ct., Mass., December 11, 2001)
The court denied defendants' motion to dismiss plaintiff's complaint, which sought to enforce a contract for the sale of real property between the parties based on e-mails they exchanged. The court rejected defendants' claim that this contract was unenforceable by virtue of the Statute of Frauds, holding that e-mails typed and sent by defendant containing a salutation consisting of defendant's name can constitute writings sufficient to satisfy the statute of frauds.
Plaintiff brought the instant action to enforce a contract for the sale of real estate. Plaintiff claimed that the contract had been formed in a series of e-mails exchanged by the parties, each of which contained at the foot thereof the type-written name of the respective sender. The e-mails exchanged identified the property that was the subject of the parties' agreement, the purchase price, specified a 10 percent downpayment, waived all usual contingencies, including financing, and called for a closing as soon as possible.
Defendants moved to dismiss the complaint, arguing that the contract was barred by the Statute of Frauds, because it was not evidenced by a writing. Indeed, defendants' last e-mail contemplated the delivery of a purchase and sale agreement, to be signed by the defendants. Apparently, they never signed such an agreement.
The court denied defendants' motion, holding that the e-mails the defendant husband sent the plaintiff were sufficient to satisfy the writing requirement of the statute of frauds. In so holding, the court relied on prior case law that held that a telegram may be a writing sufficient to satisfy the statute of frauds. Said the court:
The court accordingly denied the motion to dismiss and allowed plaintiff to proceed with his claim.