law-statute-of-frauds-real-estate | statute of frauds generally | statute of frauds governing sale of goods
statute of frauds as it applies to loan agreements in excess of $50,000 |

Statute of Frauds governing real estate transactions (conveyance)

Lyle v. Guinn Revocable Trust (Tex.App.- Houston [1st Dist.] Mar. 11, 2010)(Keyes)
oil and gas law, assignment of oil and gas lease, statute of limitations, laches, statute of frauds)
Lyle also argues that the Japhet heirs’ claims are barred by the statute of frauds. The statute of frauds
requires that certain agreements be in writing and that they be signed by the person to be charged with the
promise or agreement to be enforceable. See Tex. Bus. & Com. Code Ann. § 26.01 (Vernon 2009).
Agreements to assign an interest in an oil and gas leasehold estate are subject to the requirements
of the statute of frauds. Westland Oil, 637 S.W.2d at 908. As we have already discussed, the 1919
Assignment was in writing and was signed by all of the parties involved in that
transfer of the lease. Lyle
subsequently signed the 1991 assignment in which Hablinski transferred a portion of that lease to him with
the express statement that the assignment was made subject to the 1919 Assignment. This satisfies the
statute of frauds.
We conclude that the Japhet heirs’ claims are not barred by the statute of frauds.
Justice Keyes     
Before Justices Keyes, Sharp and Massengale   
01-09-00081-CV  Kenneth R. Lyle and Warbonnet Exploration Company v. Jane Guinn Revocable Trust,
Perry B. Menking, Jr. Investment Management Trust, Lynn Sahin, Kate Lutken Bruno Grantor Trust, Wesley
Lutken Grantor Trust, Daniel R. Japhet, Jr., Gretchen Japhet, Susan Japhet Scotty and Larken Japhet
Appeal from 149th District Court of Brazoria County
Trial Court Judge: The Honorable Robert E. May   

In her first issue, Nguyen argues that the trial court improperly concluded that the contract violated the
statute of frauds.

The statute of frauds requires that all conveyances of real property be in writing and signed by the party to
be charged. See Tex. Bus. & Com. Code Ann. § 26.01(b)(4) (Vernon 2009). Whether a contract falls within
the statute of frauds is a question of law. Iacono v. Lyons, 16 S.W.3d 92, 94 (Tex. App.--Houston [1st Dist.]
2000, no pet.). We review the trial court's conclusions of law de novo. Smith v. Smith, 22 S.W.3d 140, 149
(Tex. App.--Houston [14th Dist.] 2000, no pet.).

When performing a de novo review, we exercise our own judgment and redetermine each legal issue. Quick v. City of Austin, 7
S.W.3d 109, 116 (Tex. 1998). We will uphold conclusions of law on appeal if the judgment can be sustained on any legal
theory the evidence supports. Waggoner v. Morrow, 932 S.W.2d 627, 631 (Tex. App.--Houston [14th Dist.] 1996, no writ).
Incorrect conclusions of law do not require reversal if the controlling findings of fact support the judgment under a correct legal
theory. Id.

For a land sales contract to meet the requirements of the statute of frauds, it must furnish within itself or by
reference to another existing writing the means or data to identify the particular land with reasonable
certainty. See Pick v. Bartel, 659 S.W.2d 636, 637 (Tex. 1983) (concluding description of land not certain
when "No city, county or state is mentioned in connection with its location. No lot or block number is given,
nor is there any indication as to the amount of land. No description by any particular name appears."); Jones
v. Kelley, 614 S.W.2d 95, 99 (Tex. 1981) (concluding that property description satisfied statue of frauds
when metes and bounds description was in evidence, and plat showed location of 36 acres within larger 116
acre tract and contained calls for course and distance of 36 acres); Wilson v. Fisher, 144 Tex. 53, 188 S.W.
2d 150, 152 (1945) (property description deficient when no city, county or state was mentioned and there
was no lot or block number and no indication of amount of land).

The purpose of a description in a written conveyance is not to identify the land, but to afford a means of
identification. Jones, 614 S.W.2d at 99-100. "A writing need not contain a metes and bounds property
description to be enforceable." Texas Builders v. Keller, 928 S.W.2d 479, 481 (Tex. 1996). If enough
appears in the description so that a person familiar with the area can locate the premises with reasonable
certainty, it is sufficient to satisfy the statute of frauds. Gates v. Asher, 154 Tex. 538, 280 S.W.2d 247, 248-
49 (1955).

If a conveyance of an interest in real property does not sufficiently describe the land to be conveyed, it is
void and unenforceable under the statute of frauds. See Republic Nat'l Bank of Dallas v. Stetson, 390 S.W.
2d 257, 261 (Tex. 1965). Such a contract, deed, or conveyance will not support an action for specific
performance or a suit for damages for a breach of contract. Wilson, 188 S.W.2d at 152; Reiland v. Patrick
Thomas Props., Inc., 213 S.W.3d 431, 437 (Tex. App.--Houston [1st Dist.] 2006, pet. denied).

Nguyen v. Yovan (Tex.App.- Houston [14th Dist.] Oct. 1, 2009)(Keyes)
real estate transaction, statute of frauds as it applies to sale of real estate, contract for deed)  
Opinion by Justice Keyes   
Before Justices Jennings, Keyes and Higley   
01-07-00660-CV  Anna Marie Nguyen v. Alex Yovan and Philip Yovan   
Appeal from 212th District Court of Galveston County
Trial Court
Judge: Hon. Susan Elizabeth Criss

Under Section 13.001 of the Texas Property Code, an unrecorded conveyance of an interest in real
property is void as to a subsequent purchaser who purchases the property for valuable consideration and
without notice.  See Tex. Prop. Code Ann.  §13.001(a) (Vernon 2003).  The unrecorded instrument is
binding, however, on a subsequent purchaser who does not pay a valuable consideration or who has notice
of the instrument.  See id. § 13.001(b).  To receive the bona fide purchaser protection, a party must
acquire the property in good faith, for value, and without notice of any third-party claim or interest.  Madison
v. Gordon, 39 S.W.3d 604, 606 (Tex. 2001) (per curiam).  
Notice of a third-party's claim or interest can be
actual or constructive.  Id.; Flack v. First Nat'l Bank, 226 S.W.2d 628, 631 (Tex. 1950).  Actual
is found based on personal information or knowledge.  Madison, 39 S.W.3d at 606.  
Constructive notice is notice the law imputes to a person not having personal information or knowledge."
Texoma Advertising Co., LP v. The Siblings, LLC (Tex.App.- Houston [14th Dist.] Jun. 16, 2009)(Yates)
(lease agreement for advertising disputed,
actual or constructive knowledge, statute of frauds conveyance of
interest in real estate,
ratification of disputed contract, acceptance of benefits under it with knowledge of its
Likewise, we find other authority cited by Texoma in support of its
constructive notice argument
unpersuasive.  In each of the cases, there were facts that put the purchaser on notice that further inquiry
was necessary.  See, e.g., Fletcher v. Minton, 217 S.W.3d 755, 761 (Tex. App.- Dallas 2007, no pet.)
(presence of cows, a fence, and equipment, coupled with observation by purchaser's agent of the occupant
going to and from property was sufficient to put purchaser on notice); Startex First Equip. Ltd. v. Aelina
Enters., Inc., 208 S.W.3d 596, 602 (Tex. App.- Austin 2006, pet. denied) (lease was recorded in deed
records, plus "inquiry notice" was triggered where occupant was operating gasoline sales business from
premises); Texas Wood Mill Cabinets, Inc. v. Butter, 117 S.W.3d 98, 105 (Tex. App.-Tyler 2003, no pet.)
(statute relating to mechanics' and materialmen's lien provided for constructive notice; additionally,
purchaser's personal knowledge of improvements being made put purchaser on notice lien can be filed).  
There are no such facts in this case.  The mere existence of the billboard is not sufficient to conclusively
establish a duty to ascertain because there was also evidence that the billboard appeared to be abandoned.  
The trial court resolved the factual dispute in favor of The Siblings.

The Statute  of Frauds  is not a bar to the establishment of a
constructive trust, since such trusts may be
proved by parol. Fain v. Beaver, 478 S.W.2d 816, 820 (Tex.Civ.App.-Waco 1972, writ ref'd n.r.e.) (citing
Sorrells v. Coffield, 144 Tex. 31, 34, 187 S.W.2d 980, 981 (1945), and Wilson v. Therrell, 304 S.W.2d 723,
728 298 (Tex.Civ.App.-Amarillo 1957, writ ref'd n.r.e.)). However, the proponent of a constructive trust must
strictly prove the elements necessary for the imposition of the trust. Hubbard,  138 S.W.3d at 485.

TEXAS CAUSES OF ACTION ELEMENTS -->  statute of frauds defense  
TEXAS COURT OF APPEALS OPINIONS  -->  statute of frauds as affirmative defense barring enforcement