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Powell v. City of Newton

Supreme Court of North Carolina
703 S.E.2d 723 (2010)


Around January 2005, the City of Newton (the city) (defendant) began constructing a park next to land owned by Powell (plaintiff). On December 2, 2005, Powell sued the city, alleging that the city’s agents trespassed on his property and removed hardwood trees. The case went to trial on November 12, 2007. On November 14, 2007, the parties reached a settlement by which Powell would receive $40,000.00 in exchange for a quitclaim deed to the disputed land. The city’s attorney reported the settlement to the court. The court confirmed with Powell that the agreement as described was Powell’s agreement. On November 21, 2007, the parties’ attorneys used email to memorialize the agreement. A final agreement was prepared and forwarded to Powell for his signature. Concurrently, the city sent $40,000.00 to Powell’s attorney. Powell refused to sign the agreement. The city moved for a court order requiring Powell to abide by the terms of the settlement agreement. Powell argued that the settlement agreement was void, because it was a contract for the sale of land that was not in writing and not signed by the party to be charged. The trial court ordered that Powell execute the final agreement. The court of appeals found that the writing satisfied the statute of frauds.

Rule of Law


Holding and Reasoning (Edmunds, J.)

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