The Statute of Frauds
The disposing of the case between the salesman and Mark will be determined with reference to the Statute of Frauds. A collective term that describes the different statutory provisions which render certain types of contracts unenforceable unless they are written is what is referred to as the Statute of Frauds. The Statute of Frauds does not render oral contracts illegal, but it basically means that implementation may not be possible if one of the parties declines to fulfill their commitments. An example of a contract where the Statute of Frauds applies is a contract that involves the sale or transfer of property (Larson, 2010).
In the given case, Mark gave an oral contract to stand as a surety for Johnny if he fails to pay for the lawn mower on time. The oral contract is a clear agreement between Johnny, Mark and the salesperson. It qualifies as a contract because it bears some consideration in the sense that, each party has put something into the deal. Additionally, the oral contract demonstrates the intention of Johnny, Mark and the sales person to enter into a legal relationship. The only problem with the contract is that, it does not meet the requirements of the Statute of Frauds because it cannot be evidenced by writing (Larson, 2010).
The fact that Mark has failed to meet his obligations as stated in the oral contract makes the contract voidable under the Statutes of Frauds. The main purpose of the Statute of Frauds is to make certain contracts voidable by either of the parties, suppose the party fails to follow terms of the agreement. A voidable contract loses its validity the moment one of the parties declines to meet the contract requirements. This means that the court will have to set Mark free because it will be difficult to prove and impose the contract in the absence of a written agreement. Without a written and duly signed contract, it will be difficult for the court to establish after the event, precisely what Mark and the salesperson had agreed upon because either of the parties can change the statements to best help support their case (Larson, 2010).
It is most likely that the salesman will lose the case under the Statute of Frauds because the oral contract that was initially made by Mark is unenforceable since payments to the lawn mower have not been made. In other words, Mark has refused to fulfill his obligations. Even though the Statute of Frauds intends to prevent injury from fraudulent conduct, some people criticize the continued existence of these statutes, because they are frequently used by parties who freely enter into contracts then fail to fulfill their agreements (Larson, 2010). For instance, one might argue that Mark knew that he will not face any liability under the Statute if Frauds because he had made a verbal contract. Some claim that the Statute of Frauds seeks to protect people against real abuses and they should therefore be kept in place. For example, Mark could have faced legal charges if at all the contract in question was written and properly signed by all parties: Johnny, Mark and the salesperson. A written contract could have given all the parties the opportunity to review the terms and conditions of the contract before making it final (Larson, 2010).