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Superior Court Holds Alleged Oral Employment Agreement Unenforceable Under Statute of Frauds

Aurigemma v. New Castle Care LLC, C.A. No. 05C-04-113 MJB, 2006 WL 2441978 (Del. Super. Ct. Aug. 22, 2006). Plaintiff sued defendant medical facility for breach of an alleged oral agreement under which plaintiff was to serve as defendant's medical director from October 1, 2003, until October 1, 2004. Plaintiff claimed that this oral agreement was made on September 4, 2003. The court granted defendant's motion for summary judgment on the ground that, even if it had reached an oral agreement with plaintiff, such agreement would be unenforceable under the statute of frauds because it could not be performed within a year. The court adopted the widely accepted principle that for purposes of the statute of frauds the time within which a contract is to be performed runs from the making of the contract, not the time that the performance is to begin. Accordingly, the court found that plaintiff's alleged oral agreement was subject to the statute of frauds. The court also rejected plaintiff's claim that his alleged partial performance excused him from the statute's effect, noting that the partial-performance exception is limited to real-estate and financial transactions and does not apply to service or employment contracts. Share

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