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Byrne v. Laura
California Court of Appeal
52 Cal. App. 4th 1054, 60 Cal. Rptr. 2d 908 (1997)
Decedent Donald “Skip” Lavezzo and Gladys “Flo” Byrne (plaintiff) rekindled a former relationship after Skip divorced his wife and Flo’s husband died. Flo moved in with Skip. They agreed to share everything and lived together as if they were married. Skip promised to support Flo if she took care of him and his home. Skip told Flo that he would put all his assets into a living trust naming her as beneficiary. Skip died without ever creating the trust. Flo filed a creditor’s claim against Skip’s estate, but it was rejected by the estate’s administrators and heirs (defendants). Flo then filed a complaint for breach of oral contract. The estate moved for summary judgment, arguing that Skip’s promises were too uncertain to be enforceable, the alleged oral contract was barred by the statute of frauds, and Flo could not rely on the estoppel exception to the statute of frauds. The trial court held that Skip’s promises amounted to a joint tenancy that required a writing to be enforceable and so found for the estate as a matter of law. Flo appealed.
Rule of Law
Holding and Reasoning (Hanlon, J.)
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