DF v. Brown

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DF v. Brown
Court 7th Circuit
Citation 851 F.2d 920
Date decided July 7, 1988

Facts

2 fanatics of the architect Frank Lloyd Wright ("Wright"; 1867 - 1959) are the opposing parties in this case.

Mrs. Brown ("Brown") lived in a house designed by Wright & owned 1 of his Willits chairs.

DF Activities Corporation ("DF") instructed 1 of its arts directors to buy the Willits chair.

DF wanted to buy the Willits chair for $60,000 to be paid in 2 installments within 3 months. Brown denied any agreement to sell the chair.

In spite of a clear deal, DF sent a confirmation letter & 1st installment payment of $30,000. Brown returned the $30,000 check & sold the chair to another party for $198,000.

Procedural History

DF sued Brown for breach of the oral contract to sell the Willits chair.

DF lost.

Issues

May a plaintiff (DF) seek additional discovery to extract an admission that a contract was formed after a defendant (Brown) asserts a statute-of-frauds defense & submits an affidavit denying the contract existed?

Arguments

Brown argued that the UCC statute of frauds require goods at $500 or more to be in writing.

Holding

No. When a defendant asserts a statute-of-frauds defense & submits an affidavit denying a contract existed, a plaintiff may not seek additional discovery to extract an admission that a contract was formed.

Rule

An exception to the statute of frauds is when the defendant admits that a contract was formed.

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