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04/01/76 TUCSON v. FARRINGTON

April 1, 1976

TUCSON
v.
FARRINGTON



Fitzgerald, J. Williams, Coleman, and Lindemer, JJ., concurred with Fitzgerald, J. Ryan, J., took no part in the decision of this case. Levin, J. (dissenting). Kavanagh, C. J., concurred with Levin, J.

SYLLABUS BY THE COURT

Opinion of the Court

1. Frauds, Statute of -- Sale of Land -- Memorandum -- Sufficiency -- Deferred Payment Terms.

As a general rule, a term of credit is an essential term of a contract for the sale of land; credit terms must be stated with substantial certainty in the written memorandum of the contract and a memorandum of a land contract which lacks the precise down payment, the schedule and interval of deferred payments and the fixed amount of the payments is insufficient under the statute of frauds (MCL 566.108; MSA 26.908).

2. Frauds, Statute of -- Sale of Land -- Memorandum -- Sufficiency -- Deferred Payment Terms.

A writing is not insufficient as a memorandum of a contract for the sale of land under the statute of frauds for failure to state with reasonable certainty the time and terms of payment (because a cash sale is presumed) unless, from the writing itself, it appears that deferred payments were agreed upon (MCL 566.108; MSA 26.908).

3. Frauds, Statute of -- Sale of Land -- Memorandum -- Sufficiency -- Parol Evidence.

Use of evidence of the parties' negotiations subsequent to a written memorandum of an agreement for the sale of land to supply essential terms of the agreement which were omitted from it is erroneous; only evidence of circumstances existing at the time of the writing may be used to supplement its terms to show what contract was at that time under the principle of evidentiary supplementation.

Dissenting Opinion

Kavanagh, C. J., and Levin, J.

4. Frauds, Statute of -- Sufficiency of Memorandum -- Evidentiary Supplementation.

An option agreement was sufficiently definite to satisfy the statute of frauds where the memorandum in question specified the location and amount of the land, the purchase price, the approximate amount of the down payment, the period of years over which the payment was to be made, and the interest rate; a court of equity by using the principle of evidentiary supplementation can fill out the details of the precise amount of the down payment, the payment schedule, and the time for transfer of possession without defeating the public policy of the state to prevent frauds.

The opinion of the court was delivered by: Fitzgerald

Plaintiffs Charles and Jean Tucson brought a complaint for specific performance of an agreement for the sale of realty against defendants Morris and Hazel Farrington. A judgment for the equitable relief requested was entered by the St. Clair Circuit Court, Halford I. Streeter, J. The Court of Appeals, J. H. Gillis, P. J., and Holbrook and Deneweth, JJ., ...


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