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Valparaiso Univ. Law School

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Friday, June 1, 2007

Still Waiting in Florida, But Rhode Island Makes 28

While Florida SB 252, which was enrolled on May 3, still has not made it to Governor Charlie Crist's in-box, Rhode Island SB 105 was enacted May 23, making Rhode Island the 28th state to adopt a version of Revised Article 1.

Like the 27 other states to have enacted Revised Article 1, SB 105 rejects "uniform" R1-301 in favor of a choice-of-law provision tracking pre-revised 1-105.  SB 105 is the ninth enactment to eschew uniform R1-201(b)(20)'s unitary good faith standard in favor of retaining the bifurcated standard of pre-revised 1-201(19) and 2-103(1)(b).

SB 105 also includes a new statute of frauds designed to retain the "default" personal property statute of frauds in pre-revised 1-206.  The new provision, to be codified at R.I. Gen. Laws § 9-1-4(7), states:

No action shall be brought … [e]xcept in cases to which the Uniform Commercial Code (Title 6A) applies, … to charge any person upon any contract for the sale of personal property beyond five thousand dollars ($5,000) in an amount or value or remedy, unless the promise or agreement upon which the action shall be brought, or some note or memorandum thereof, shall be in writing, and signed by the party to be charged therewith, or by some other person by him or her thereunto lawfully authorized.

Rhode Island is the second enacting state to have codified a new statute of frauds outside of its UCC to fill the gap -- real or perceived -- created by Revised Article 1's narrowed scope provision. Last year, California added a similar provision to its Civil Code (Cal. Civ. Code § 1624.5) as part of its enactment of Revised Article 1.

Rhode Island SB 105 is one of three recent enactments -- along with Indiana SB 419 (enacted May 3, 2007) and Iowa SF 535 (enacted April 4, 2007) -- slated to take effect on July 1, 2007.  Once these three new statutes take effect, Revised Article 1 will be the law in more the one-half of the states.

[Keith A. Rowley]

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