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Decatur Cooperative Association v. Urban

Kansas Supreme Court
547 P.2d 323 (1976)


Facts

Decatur Cooperative Association (Decatur) (plaintiff) was a grain dealer. Decatur followed the well-known practice in the grain industry of immediately reselling grain purchased from farmers. Decatur never held onto grain, and instead always entered into immediate resale transactions with local grain elevators. After Decatur reached an oral agreement with a farmer, Decatur would send a written confirmation of the sale to the farmer. Urban (defendant) was a wheat farmer. Urban called Decatur and arranged for the sale of 10,000 bushels of wheat at a price of $28,600. Decatur sent Urban a written confirmation of the deal, and Urban did not respond or object to the notice. The day after Decatur and Urban spoke, Decatur contracted with a regional grain elevator to resell Urban’s wheat. When the market price of wheat rose sharply in the following weeks, Urban refused to deliver the wheat. Decatur sued Urban for breach of contract. The district court entered summary judgment for Urban, holding that the purported sale transaction did not satisfy the Uniform Commercial Code (UCC) statute of frauds and, therefore, was not enforceable. Decatur appealed, arguing that Urban’s statute-of-frauds defense did not apply because the agreement was enforceable under a promissory estoppel theory.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Harman, C.)

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