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.
The fact that one of the parties to an oral contract within the terms of the Statute of Frauds, has acted in reliance thereon, is ordinarily held not to affect the enforceability of the contract as long as such acts of reliance do not amount to performance as withdraws the contract from the operation of the Statute of Frauds,1 or to technical part performance.2
In some jurisdictions, however, the act of one of the parties in relying upon an oral modification so that his rights under the original contract will be prejudiced, if he is not permitted to show such oral modification, has been regarded as sufficient to justify the court in enforcing the oral modification without regard to the Statute of Frauds.3 If the parties have acted in reliance upon an oral agreement for extension of time of performance, so that the rights of one will be forfeited under the terms of the original contract if he is not permitted to show such oral extension, some jurisdictions permit such oral extension to be shown.4 This principle has been applied to extension of time of oral contracts for the sale of standing timber,5 and to oral contracts for extending the period of redemption from a mortgage.6
5 Anderson v. Moore, 145 111. 61. 33 N. E. 848.
1Cummings v. Arnold, 44 Mass. (3 Met.) 486, 37 Am. Dec. 155; Roxbury Painting & Decorating Co. v. Nute, - Mass. - , 4 A. L. R. 680, 123 N. E. 391; Wallace v. Kelly, 148 Mich. 336, 118 Am. St. Rep. 680, 1 N. W. 1049.
2 Welch v. Mcintosh, 89 Kan. 47, 130 Pac. 641; Stearns v. Hall, 63 Mass. (9 Cush.) 31; Roxbury Painting & Decorating Co. v. Nute, - Mass. - , 4 A. L. R. 680, 123 X. E. 391; Cummins v.
Beavers, 103 Va. 230, 10ft Am. St. Rep. 881, 48 S. E. 891 (obiter).
3 Brush-Swan Electric Light Co. v. Electric Co., 41 Fed. 163; Stearns v. Hall, 63 Mass. (9 Cush.) 31; Bullis v. Presidio Mining Co., 76 Tex. 540, 12 S. W. 397.
1 See Sec. 1363 et seq.
2See Sec. 1371.
3 Williams v. Segere, 147 Ga. 219, 03 S. E. 215; Wallace v. Kelly, 148 Mich. 336, 118 Am. St. Rep. 580, 111 N. W. 1049; Andersonian Investment Co. v. Wade, - Wash. - , 184 Pac. 327.
The same principle has been applied to an oral agreement accelerating the time of performance if such oral agreement has been performed.7