Khoury v. Tomlinson

518 S.W.3d 568 (2017)

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Khoury v. Tomlinson

Texas Court of Appeals
518 S.W.3d 568 (2017)

Facts

Prentis Tomlinson (defendant) was the founder of PetroGulf, Ltd., in which John Khoury (plaintiff) invested $400,000. Khoury became dissatisfied with his investment, leading to Tomlinson’s oral promise to personally repay Khoury on a monthly basis over four or five years (at Tomlinson's election). One week later, Khoury memorialized this agreement in an email to Tomlinson, in which Khoury asked Tomlinson to confirm their agreement. Tomlinson responded with an email stating that they “were in agreement.” Khoury did not sign the email, but the email’s “from” line identified the sender as “Prentis Tomlinson.” Tomlinson did not make any repayments, leading Khoury to sue Tomlinson for, among other things, breach of contract. Tomlinson responded that the statute of frauds barred Khoury’s contract claim because Tomlinson’s email was not a qualifying writing because it was not signed by Tomlinson. Tomlinson, who did not dispute replying to Khoury, further argued that his statement that the parties were in agreement referred to an unrelated matter. The jury ruled for Khoury. Tomlinson moved for judgment notwithstanding the verdict, reiterating his statute-of-frauds argument and contending that the alleged contract was too indefinite to be enforceable because it did not specify the repayment term. The trial court granted Tomlinson’s motion. Khoury appealed.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Higley, J.)

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