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Valparaiso Univ. Law School

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Friday, November 5, 2004

Cases—Statue of Frauds—Signing counter-offer doesn't do it

An employee who made “material changes” in his three-year employment agreement before signing it could not enforce it against his employer, which had rejected the changes, according to a federal district court in Pennsylvania.  The employee claimed he had agreed on the telepone to an oral three-year contract, and had later signed a draft employment agreement with the three-year term.  But he unilaterally modified the non-compete and vacation pay provisions.  The employer never accepted the changes.  He was subsequently fired four months after starting the job, and sued.

Senior Judge Gene Carter held that under the Pennsylvania statute of frauds, the parties’ failure to reduce the transaction to writing made the oral agreement unenforceable.  The employer was entitled to summary judgment.

Gallagher v. Medical Research Consultants, LLP, 2004 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 19981 (E.D. Pa. October 1, 2004)

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