A lawyer represented Jason in his divorce matter. Jason and his parents had agreed to pay the bill. Jason and his father had signed the lawyer’s fee contracts. The parents paid the retainer and other bills to the lawyer.
A final divorce decree was entered. The lawyer sent his final bill for his services. He sent a copy to Jason and to his parents. Neither Jason nor his parents paid the final portion of the bill.
Jason had filed for bankruptcy. The lawyer sued the parents. The parents argued that they were off the hook for payment. They said the Statute of Frauds did not allow payment from a third party. They argued that only Jason owed money to the lawyer. The Trial Court agreed and dismissed the lawyer’s case.
The lawyer appealed. The Appellate Court did not agree with the Trial Court. The Statute of Frauds states that the agreement must be in writing. It was. It also says that the agreement must be signed by the person who is to pay. That is Jason’s father. The mother did not sign the agreement.
The doctrine of complete performance applied. The divorce case was all done. The lawyer had done his part of the contract.
Therefore, the contract is good against Jason’s father. He cannot use the Statute of Frauds as a defense to having to pay.
The Appellate Court reversed the Trial Court. The case was sent back to the Trial Court for enforcement against Jason’s father.
GOLDWATER v. GREENBERG, No. 1–16–3003, December 15, 2017.
NOTICE: THIS OPINION HAS NOT BEEN RELEASED FOR PUBLICATION IN THE PERMANENT LAW REPORTS. UNTIL RELEASED, IT IS SUBJECT TO REVISION OR WITHDRAWAL.
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