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Burgdorfer v.Thielemann

    Brief Fact Summary. The Plaintiff and the Defendant made a contract to buy land. The Plaintiff alleged that the Defendant misrepresented the value of the land and agreed to pay off a mortgage on the land when the Defendant had no such intent.

    Synopsis of Rule of Law. Failure to follow the Statute of Frauds (SOF) is not a defense in a case alleging deceit.

    Facts. The Plaintiff and the Defendant made a contract for the Plaintiff to buy and the Defendant to sell land.
    * In the negotiations for the sale, the Plaintiff alleged that the Defendant said the value of the land was much higher than it was. The Defendant said another party offered to buy the property for a certain amount of money when no such offer had been made.
    * The Plaintiff further, alleged that the Defendant told the Plaintiff he would pay off the $500 mortgage on the land, but the Defendant had no intent of doing so and that he, in fact, did not do so.
    * During negotiations, the Plaintiff told the Defendant that the Plaintiff had little experience and knowledge in real estate and that he trusted the Defendant to tell him what he needed to know.
    * At trial, the Defendant denied all the allegations of the Plaintiff, including the promise to pay off the mortgage.
    * The trial court ruled in favor of the Plaintiff. The Defendant appealed alleging the court erred in allowing the Plaintiff to testify about the promise to pay off the mortgage because it could not be accomplished in a year and fell under the SOF. The Defendant also appealed the court’s not granting the Defendant’s motions for dismissal and directed verdict.

    Issue. Was it reversible error to allow the Plaintiff to testify about an agreement that fell within the SOF?
    * Did the trial court err in not granting the Defendant’s motions for dismissal and direct verdict?

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