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"Handshake Agreement" Overcomes Motion to Dismiss in Superior Court

Sunstar Ventures, LLC v. Tigani, C.A. No. 08C-04-042 JAP (Del. Super. April 30, 2009)

This case illustrates the exception to the statute of frauds of "substantial part performance."

The seller of a $5MM home, and other items, brought a breach of contract action, because the buyer backed away.   The buyer moved to dismiss on the grounds that there was no meeting of the minds, and, in any case, the statute of frauds bars enforcement of such a handshake agreement.

But the Superior Court denied the motion to dismiss, holding, among other things, that the fact that the buyer took possession and began making modifications to the home supported an inference that there was substantial part performance, an exception to the statute of frauds.

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