Is an oral contract binding in New York State between two people, domestic partners in business together?

Asked over 1 year ago - Ossining, NY

1. We are domestic partners.
2. I was asked by her "Do you want to start a business with me?" I said, "Yes."
3. I put money into the business and I worked for free for six months for the benefit of the business.
4. She is the owner of the business. I could not own the business at the time due to the nature of the business and me being a felon (class E, non-violent).
5. Even the name of the corporation is our initials.
6. The idea for the business, even the name of the business were my ideas. Every person who has dealt with the business has assumed so.
7. I eventually was hired as an "employee" then fired by her.

Attorney answers (4)

  1. Marco Caviglia

    Contributor Level 19

    1

    Best Answer
    chosen by asker

    Answered . You have a difficult argument to make. Contact a contract/business attorney. The only significance of your being a domestic partner is to fulfill the special relationship requirement in arguing unjust enrichment.

    If you found this "helpful" or "best answer," please click it with my appreciation. My response is for... more
  2. John J. Carney

    Pro

    Contributor Level 14

    Answered . The Statute of Frauds requires a contract for more than $500 to be in writing. Yo may be able to argue that it is "unjust enrichment" if you went into the venture with "clean hands" which is in question since you tried to hide your conviction by putting it in her name.

  3. Gaetano Parrinello

    Contributor Level 12

    Answered . Check out this link to New York Partnership Law. It will give you an idea about how partnership is proven:
    http://public.leginfo.state.ny.us/LAWSSEAF.cgi?...

    The author of this posting is a lawyer licensed to practice law in the State of New York. He specializes in... more
  4. Dan Reed Halper

    Contributor Level 4

    Answered . An oral contract is just as binding as a written contract, but this certainly doesn't end the matter. Legally the contract may be binding but an oral agreement with no witness and no voice recording can end up being problematic in terms of evidence. But again that is a question of evidence and not of law. Once of the attorneys who responded stated that you lack clean hands because you hid your ownership of the business. I'm not sure why that would indicate that you have unclean hands. There's not enough information here really to do a complete analysis. You say you worked for free. Did you agree to work for free or was this sweat equity that by agreement was supposed to translate into an equity share?

    This answer is merely an answer to a general legal question and does not constitute any attempt to set up an... more

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