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Crabtree v. Elizabeth Arden Sales Corp.

Court of Appeals of New York

Submitted November 25, 1952. ; January 21, 1953, decided

No Number in Original


 [*51]  [**552]   FULD, J. In September of 1947, Nate Crabtree entered into preliminary negotiations with Elizabeth Arden Sales Corporation, manufacturers and sellers of cosmetics, looking toward his employment as sales manager. Interviewed on September 26th, by Robert P. Johns, executive vice-president and general manager of the corporation, who had apprised him of the possible opening, Crabtree requested a three-year contract at  [*52]  $25,000 a year. Explaining that he would be giving up a secure well-paying job to take a position in an entirely new field of endeavor - which he believed would take him some years to master - he insisted upon an agreement for a definite term. And he repeated his desire for a contract for three years to Miss Elizabeth Arden, the corporation's president. When Miss Arden finally indicated that she was prepared to offer a two-year contract,  [***9]  based on an annual salary of $20,000 for the first six months, $25,000 for the second six months and $30,000 for the second year, plus expenses of $5,000 a year for each of those years, Crabtree replied that that offer was "interesting". Miss Arden thereupon had her personal secretary make this memorandum on a telephone order blank that happened to be at hand:


NATE CRABTREE Date Sept 26-1947

At 681 - 5th Ave 6: PM

* * *

Begin 20000.

6 months 25000.

6 months 30000.

5000. - per year

Expense money

[2 years to make good]

Arrangement with

Mr Crabtree

By Miss Arden

Present Miss Arden

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305 N.Y. 48 *; 110 N.E.2d 551 **; 1953 N.Y. LEXIS 842 ***


Prior History:  [***1]   Crabtree v. Elizabeth Arden Sales Corp., 279 App. Div. 992, affirmed.

APPEAL from a judgment of the Appellate Division of the Supreme Court in the first judicial department, entered April 23, 1952, affirming, by a divided court, a judgment of the Supreme Court in favor of plaintiff, entered in New York County upon a decision of the court at a Trial Term (RABIN, J.), without a jury.

Disposition: LOUGHRAN, Ch. J., LEWIS, CONWAY, DESMOND, DYE and FROESSEL, JJ., concur.

Judgment affirmed.


memorandum, unsigned, writings, parties, salary, parol evidence, make good, payroll, assent, papers

Contracts Law, Statute of Frauds, Requirements, General Overview, Evidence, Authentication, Signatures, Types of Evidence, Documentary Evidence, Parol Evidence, Contract Interpretation, Parol Evidence, Labor & Employment Law, Employment Relationships, At Will Employment