The Second Department, reversing (modifying) Supreme Court, determined the exchange of emails concerning the sale of defendant’s property did not satisfy the statute of frauds. Plaintiff’s complaint seeking specific performance should have been dismissed. After defendant agreed via email on a purchase price he learned he could get substantially more for the property and he put the brakes on the sale to plaintiff:
… [T]he defendant was informed by a real estate broker that the property could be sold for a significantly higher amount; accordingly, the defendant asked the plaintiff to “wait” on moving forward with the execution of a formal contract. The plaintiff insisted that the parties were already bound by their emails, commenced this action for specific performance of the alleged agreement, and filed a notice of pendency on the property. The defendant moved (1) to dismiss the complaint pursuant to CPLR 3211(a)(1), (5), and (7), on the ground that the emails failed to satisfy the statute of frauds, (2) to cancel the notice of pendency pursuant to CPLR 6514(a), (3) for an award of costs and expenses pursuant to CPLR 6514(c), and (4) for an award of sanctions and attorney’s fees pursuant to 22 NYCRR 130-1.1. The Supreme Court denied that branch of the defendant’s motion which was to dismiss the complaint, and, in effect, denied the remainder of the relief sought. We modify.
The emails relied upon by the plaintiff to establish the alleged agreement among the parties for the purchase of the defendant’s apartment were insufficient to satisfy the statute of frauds, as they left for future negotiations essential terms of the contemplated contract, such as a down payment, the closing date, the quality of title to be conveyed, the risk of loss during the sale period, and adjustments for taxes and utilities, and were subject to the execution of a more formal contract of sale… . Contrary to the plaintiff’s contention, in the emails exchanged by and between the parties and the defendant’s attorney, the parties expressly anticipated the execution of a formal contract … . Saul v Vidokle, 2017 NY Slip Op 04485, 2nd Dept 6-7-17
REAL ESTATE (CONTRACT LAW, STATUTE OF FRAUDS, THE EMAIL EXCHANGE IN WHICH THE PURCHASE PRICE WAS AGREED TO DID NOT SATISFY THE STATUTE OF FRAUDS, SELLER WAS FREE TO BACK OUT AND SEEK A HIGHER PRICE)/STATUTE OF FRAUDS (REAL ESTATE, HE EMAIL EXCHANGE IN WHICH THE PURCHASE PRICE WAS AGREED TO DID NOT SATISFY THE STATUTE OF FRAUDS, SELLER WAS FREE TO BACK OUT AND SEEK A HIGHER PRICE)/CONTRACT LAW (REAL ESTATE, STATUTE OF FRAUDS, THE EMAIL EXCHANGE IN WHICH THE PURCHASE PRICE WAS AGREED TO DID NOT SATISFY THE STATUTE OF FRAUDS, SELLER WAS FREE TO BACK OUT AND SEEK A HIGHER PRICE)