WTP Wins! Jury enforces oral contract for the sale of land

In a two-day jury trial in March, Nathan Powell, Lauren Pendley, Chuck Ross, and Ashley Scarpetta won a contract case by unanimous decision.

The case arose from an unwritten contract for the sale of land close to Stone Mountain. Our client agreed to give a friend a place to live, to pay for his room and board indefinitely, and to take him to his doctors' appointments in exchange for a piece of property. Our client's friend's health deteriorated quickly; he only survived 18 months after the agreement. He did not sign a deed to our client prior to his death.

We sued the promisor's Estate for specific performance and breach of contract.

The “Statute of Frauds” requires that parties write down and record the terms of any agreement – meaning that oral contracts for a land sale are not ordinarily enforceable. Our team successfully argued that certain exceptions applied to this case and that this oral contract was valid. These exceptions included part performance, and the fact that if the contract were not enforced, then it would be tantamount to an endorsement of fraud upon our client.

The evidence introduced at trial demonstrated that our client spent many thousands of dollars and hundreds of hours of his time taking care of his friend in reliance on his friend's promise to deed him the property. Until the jury came back, our client had received nothing in return for his efforts.

The jury decided this outcome was unacceptable. After a day and a half of deliberation, they returned with a decision in our client's favor; awarding him the value of the property.

If you or someone you know has a question about a contract case, give us a call. We take difficult cases because we fight for what's right.