Thank You For Submiting Feedback!
The Statute of Frauds does not require any particular form of writing. It may be satisfied entirely by a written correspondence. However, the writings must establish the essential terms of the contract without resort to parol evidence. One of the essential terms of a contract of sale of land is the identification of the land. A decree for specific performance operates as a deed. Hence, the land must be described so as to indicate with reasonable certainty what is to be conveyed. Parol evidence cannot be relied upon to supplement a vague and uncertain description.
John and Sue Maddox allegedly contracted to sell Morris and Betty Cash 15 acres of land. The only written evidence of the contract was a check mailed by the Cashes for $200.00 as part payment. Written on the check was “15 acres in Pickens, S.C., land binder, 30 days from date of check to June 3, 1970." John Maddox endorsed and cashed the check. Subsequently, the Maddoxes advised the Cashes they did not wish to sell as it would cause trouble in the family and returned the $200.00 which the Cashes refused. The trial court held there was a binding contract and ordered specific performance. The Maddoxes contended that the memorandum of the alleged contract of sale was too vague and indefinite to satisfy the Statute of Frauds.
Was the memorandum of the alleged contract of sale too vague and indefinite to satisfy the Statute of Frauds?
The court reversed, determining that the agreement was discussed over the telephone. Further, the land proposed to be sold was not described or designated as would enable a court to render a decree for its conveyance. The court found that the words in a check made out to the sellers afforded no means to adequately identify the property, and that there were no equities present in the case to remove the contract from the operation of the Statute of Frauds. Accordingly, the court reversed the trial court's judgment ordering specific performance.