This section is from the book "The Law Of Contracts", by William Herbert Page. Also available from Amazon: Commercial Contracts: A Practical Guide to Deals, Contracts, Agreements and Promises.
This clause of the statute includes contracts which by their terms cannot be performed within one year from the date on which they are made.1 Applying this rule to the adjudicated cases we find that this clause of the statute has received a very narrow construction, the courts almost without exception aiming to exclude from its application as many classes of cases as possible. To have this clause of the statute apply the contract must be one that "by its very terms shows that it was not to be completed within the year."2 The restriction imposed by the more conservative courts is that the contract must by its terms when "fairly and reasonably interpreted" admit of performance within the year to fall without the statute.3 If the contract is one which by its terms may be performed within the year or may be performed after the year, according to circumstances, it is not within this clause of the statute,4 even if its performance within the year is not expected or even probable.5 Thus an indefinite term of employment which lasts three and a half years, is not within the statute ;6 nor is a contract for one year's employment brought with the statute by a vague promise to pay a better salary for the ensuing year if possible.7 So a contract is not within the statute if by its terms the parties contemplate performance within the year, but add extra time for emergencies, and so exceed the year.8
4 Blackburn v. Mann, 85 111. 222; Lewis v. Tapman, 90 Md. 294; 47 L. R. A. 385; 45 Atl. 459 (citing Harrison v. Cage, 1 Ld. Raym. 386; Philpot v. Wallet, 3 Lev. 65; Cook v. Baker, 1 Strange 34; Ogden v. Ogden, 1 Bland. 284) ; Brick v. Gan-nar, 30 Hun 52.
5Ullman v. Meyer, 10 Fed. 241; Nichols v. Weaver, 7 Kan. 373; Has-lam v. Barge, - Neb. -; 90 X. W. 245; Derby v. Phelps, 2 X. H. 515.
1 Haynes v. Mason, 30 111. App. 85; Miller v. Banking Co., 53 Mo. App. 430; Schultz v. Tatum, 35 Mo. App. 136; Reynolds v. Bank. 62 Neb. 747; 87 X. W. 912; Lockwood v. Barnes, 3 Hill (X. Y.) 128; 38 Am. Dec. 620; Foote v. Emerson. 10 Vt. 338; 33 Am. Dec. 205; Parkers-burg Mill Co. v. R. R. Co., 50 W. Va. 94; 40 S. E. 328.
2Kiene v. Shaeffing, 33 Neb. 21, 23; 49 X. W. 773. To the same effect see Walker v. Johnson, 96 U. S. 424; Bank v. Finnell, 133 Cal. 475; 65 Pac. 976; Hinkle v. Fisher, 104 Ind. 84; 3 N. E. 624; Saunders v. Kastenbine, 6 B. Mon. (Ky.) 17; Farwell v. Tillson, 76 Me. 227; Som-erby v. Bunting, 118 Mass. 279; 19 Am. Rep. 459; Warren, etc., Co. v. Holbrook, 118 X. Y. 586; 16 Am. St. Rep. 788; 23 X. E. 908; Kimmins v. Oldham, 27 W. Va. 258.
3 Warren, etc., Co. v. Holbrook, 118 X. Y. 586; 16 Am. St. Rep. 788; 23 X. E. 908.
4 Bank v. Finnell, 133 Cal. 475; 65 Pac. 976; Durham v. Hiatt, 127 Ind. 514; 26 X. E. 401; Houghton v. Houghton, 14 Ind. 505; 77 Am. Dec. 69; Doyle v. Dixon, 97 Mass. 208; 93 Am. Dec. 80; Lapham v. Whipple. 8 Met. (Mass.) 59; 41 Am. Dec. 487; Barton v. Gray, 57 Mich.