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Current Developments in the Commercial Divisions of the
New York State Courts by Schlam Stone & Dolan LLP
Posted: October 17, 2020

Statute of Frauds Does Not Bar Quantum Meruit Claims

On October 1, 2020, Justice Borrok of the New York County Commercial Division issued a decision in Karen’s Shipping, LLC v. West Side Foods, Inc., 2020 NY Slip Op. 33268(U), holding that the statute of frauds does not bar quantum meruit claims, explaining:

The court neither overlooked nor misapprehended the relevant facts or law. As discussed in both the First Decision and the Second Decision, the court determined that the Plaintiffs’ claims for unjust enrichment and quantum meruit were sustained because they did not seek to enforce an oral agreement, but only to recover the reasonable value of property or services rendered. In other words, although the Defendants premise their arguments for dismissal on the basis that an oral agreement between the parties existed, the court reached the opposite conclusion when it determined that the Plaintiffs do not seek to enforce any oral contract or promise, As a result, the statute of frauds did not apply to bar the Plaintiffs’ unjust enrichment and quantum meruit claims. In any event, even if the statute of frauds were to apply, the court held that the cheque presented by the Plaintiffs was a sufficient writing so as to bring the Plaintiffs’ claims outside the statute of frauds.

(Internal citations omitted).

Quantum meruit is a claim to recover for work that was not done pursuant to a contract. Contact Schlam Stone & Dolan partner John Lundin at jlundin@schlamstone.com if you or a client face a situation where there is a dispute over payment for work that was not covered by a contract.

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