Legal Memorandum: Exceptions to the Statute of Frauds in ME

Issue: Under the laws of Maine, what are the exceptions to the statute of fraud for oral contracts for the transfer of real property?

Area of Law: Business Organizations & Contracts
Keywords: Exceptions to the statute of fraud; Oral contracts; Equitable reformation
Jurisdiction: Maine
Cited Cases: 214 A.2d 743; 95 A.2d 802; 24 A. 862; 72 Me. 145; 962 A.2d 322
Cited Statutes: None
Date: 04/01/2015

Generally, an exception to the statute of frauds appears to be partial performance with respect to oral contracts as well as equitable reformation.  The following authorities are instructive:

·         Harvey v. Dow, 2008 ME 192, 962 A.2d 322 (Me. 2008) (applying promissory estoppel and making exception to statute of frauds in case where daughter built new house on parents’ land where parties understood daughter would receive land by gift or inheritance and noting promise relied on by promisee need not be express but may be implied from party’s conduct);

·         26 Common St. v. Parslow, No. RE-05-126, 2006 Me. Super. LEXIS 98 (Me. Super. Ct. May 5, 2006) (Brennan, J.) (denying summary judgment in case with oral agreement for life estate granted to woman in exchange for promise to take care of another);

·         Slipp v. Stover, 651 A.2d 824 (Me. 1994) (holding where deed intended to carry into execution a written or oral agreement but fails to express manifest intention on account of draftsman due to carelessness, forgetfulness, or lack of skill, equity will rectify mistake so deed expresses parties’ real intent);

·         Perron v. Lebel, 256 A.2d 663 (Me. 1969) (allowing reformation of agreement despite statute of frauds, allowing parol evidence, and holding when purchaser has knowledge of mistake, and of the true intent and design of the deed, at the time of purchase, the purchaser is in no better position than the original parties to the instrument);

·         Laflamme v. Hoffman, […]

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