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Stearns v. Emery-Waterhouse Co.

Supreme Judicial Court of Maine
596 A.2d 72 (Me. 1991)


Stearns (plaintiff) was a manager at Sears and was contacted by Emery-Waterhouse (defendant) to run one of its stores. Stearns was not totally happy at Sears, but enjoyed the job security he got there. At a meeting between Emery-Waterhouse and Stearns, Emery-Waterhouse orally contracted with Stearns to employ him for five years at a guaranteed salary of $85,000 per year. Stearns accepted and served as Emery-Waterhouse’s director of regional sales for two years at a salary of $85,000. Thereafter, he was removed and given a different job within the company at a salary of $68,000. After six months at the new job, his employment was terminated, about two and a half years earlier than he was promised in the oral contract. Stearns brought suit for breach of contract. The trial court found in his favor despite the oral contract falling under the statute of frauds because he detrimentally relied on the oral promise. Emery-Waterhouse appealed.

Rule of Law


Holding and Reasoning (Roberts, J.)

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