BROOKS COTTON COMPANY, INC. v. BRADLEY F. WILLIAMS (Tenn. Ct. App. April 23, 2012)
This interlocutory appeal concerns the question of whether a farmer may be considered a merchant for purposes of the Uniform Commercial Code Statute of Frauds.
Appellant farmer allegedly entered into an oral contract to sell his cotton crop to Appellee cotton company. The farmer failed to deliver the cotton and the cotton company sued for specific performance. The farmer defended the suit by arguing that the alleged oral contract was unenforceable due to the Statute of Frauds. The cotton company countered that the farmer was a merchant for purposes of the merchant exception to the Statute of Frauds. The trial court granted partial summary judgment in favor of the cotton company, finding that the farmer was a merchant for purposes of the Statute of Frauds.
We hold that a farmer may be considered a merchant for purposes of the Uniform Commercial Code Statute of Frauds, the determination of which is a mixed question of law and fact. However, because the question of whether this particular farmer qualifies as a merchant raises genuine issues regarding the inferences to be drawn from the facts, we reverse the grant of partial summary judgment and remand to the trial court for a trial on the merits.
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