The Second Department, reversing Supreme Court, determined plaintiffs’ action alleging breach of an alleged oral contract concerning the repayment of a loan secured by a note an mortgage should have been dismissed as barred by the statute of frauds. The fraud and unjust enrichment causes of action must also be dismissed as duplicative of the breach of contract cause of action:
The complaint alleged that contemporaneously with executing the note and mortgage, the plaintiffs and the defendant entered into an oral agreement providing, inter alia, that in exchange for assigning a contract to purchase certain real property to the defendant, the plaintiffs would be responsible for paying only the interest on the loan. The complaint, which asserted causes of action sounding in breach of contract, fraud, and unjust enrichment, sought, among other things, recovery of the settlement amount paid by the plaintiffs in the foreclosure action, less the amount of interest allegedly due pursuant to the oral agreement. The defendant moved pursuant to CPLR 3211(a) to dismiss the complaint. The Supreme Court denied the motion, and the defendant appeals.
Accepting the facts as alleged in the complaint as true, and according the plaintiffs the benefit of every possible inference, dismissal of the breach of contract cause of action should have been granted, since enforcement of the alleged oral agreement, ostensibly to modify the note and mortgage, is barred by the statute of frauds (see General Obligations Law §§ 5-703; 5-1103 … ). Dismissal of the causes of action alleging fraud and unjust enrichment should also have been granted as they are duplicative of the unenforceable contractual cause of action and thus constitute an impermissible attempt to circumvent the statute of frauds … . Botanical Realty Assoc. Urban Renewal, LLC v Gluck, 2020 NY Slip Op 00099, Second Dept 1-8-20