Thursday, August 7, 2014

An oral contract and taxi medallions.

Practice point:  The parties are taxi drivers who allegedly purchased two New York City taxicab medallions, the titles to which were subsequently memorialized in two deeds of transfer, with the plaintiff holding title to one medallion, and the defendant holding title to the other. Over time, various transfers of money were made between the parties, including one transfer from the plaintiff to the defendant in the sum of $158,375, allegedly to facilitate the defendant's purchase of the medallion to which he had title. The plaintiff alleges that the parties orally agreed that he was loaning this sum to the defendant at the interest rate of 6.25%, and that the defendant was obligated to repay this amount "whenever he can." The defendant asserts that the parties never made such an agreement. The plaintiff commenced this action to recover the amount due on the oral loan agreement, and after a nonjury trial, the Supreme Court concluded that the plaintiff was entitled to the principal sum of $158,375.

The Appellate Division affirmed, noting that, as the defendant concedes, the loan agreement at issue could have been performed within one year of the making thereof, pursuant to General Obligations Law § 5-701[a][1].. Therefore, the statute of frauds does not apply to this agreement, and enforcement of the agreement is not barred by virtue of it not having been memorialized in writing.

Student note:  The Appellate Division also considered that the Supreme Court's determination in favor of the plaintiff was based upon factual conclusions arrived at by weighing the evidence presented by both parties, and was not against the weight of the evidence or contrary to law.

Case:  Saha v. Padder, NY Slip Op 05418 (2d Dept. 2014)

Here is the decision.

Tomorrow's issue:  Injured while lifting a bag of, well, coins.