that, irrespective of this factual issue, it nevertheless is entitled to judgment. The basis for this claim is the contention that the purported agreement, in any event, is unenforceable because it is one terminable at will, was not authorized or ratified by defendant, and is barred by the statute of frauds.
Turning to defendant's first point, namely terminability at will, the Court of Appeals of this jurisdiction had a similar state of facts before it in Riefkin v. E.I. Dupont, 53 App.D.C. 311, 290 F. 286, 287. There the plaintiff contended that he was induced to enter into an agreement of employment for an indefinite period by representations that if he would resign his position he held with the United States Government and enter the employ of defendant, to take charge of the purchase of coal, 'he would be given permanent employment in that capacity, so long as he rendered satisfactory service and was loyal to the defendant's interests.' The evidence tended to show that he rendered satisfactory service, was loyal to the interests of the defendant, and was discharged without cause. The defendant contended, as here, that the contract entered into between the parties "was an employment at will, terminable by either party at any time," but the Court, in upholding the contract, found that the more reasonable view of their arrangement was 'that the parties contemplated that, so long as the defendant continued in a business requiring the purchase of coal and the plaintiff performed loyal and satisfactory service, he would continue to be employed in the capacity specified in the contract.' In the instant case, plaintiff has cooperated and refrained from engaging in competitive business, which latter may be compared with the consideration given up by the plaintiff in the Riefkin case. Plaintiff was an experienced salesman with many years of acquaintance with the trade in the District of Columbia area, and it was of benefit to defendant, when they concluded to replace him by a young man, to exact an agreement that he would not enter into any competing business and also would assist the young man and cooperate generally for the benefit of the company under the new arrangement. On the authority of the Riefkin case, I find against defendant on this first point.
On the point that the contract was unauthorized, it will be recalled that the arrangement between the parties was directed by the President, Vice President, and General Manager of defendant, and although neither the by laws nor minutes of defendant expressly authorized the arrangement, the authority of Weingarten and Jones to bind defendant is a jury question. This view finds adequate support in Washington Gas Light Co. v. Dann, 63 App.D.C. 142, 70 F.2d 746. Moreover, defendant has received the benefits over a period of years and is deemed to have ratified the contract by accepting the benefits if it had knowledge of them. Union Gold Mining Co. v. Rocky Mt. National Bank, 96 U.S. 640, 24 L. Ed. 648; Pittsburgh & St. L. Railway Co. v. Keokuk & H. Bridge Co., 131 U.S. 371, 381, 9 S. Ct. 770, 33 L. Ed. 157; Indianapolis Rolling Mill v. St. Louis, etc. Railroad, 120 U.S. 256, 7 S. Ct. 542, 30 L. Ed. 639. Whether it had such knowledge is also a question for the jury to decide on the evidence and reasonable inferences therefrom. District National Bank v. Maiatico, 61 App.D.C. 242, 60 F.2d 1078.
With reference to the statute of frauds, it need only be stated that, inasmuch as the purported agreement could have terminated within a year, the statute of the District does not apply. Campbell v. Rawlings, 52 App.D.C. 37, 280 F. 1011.
I therefore conclude that defendant's motion for summary judgment can not be granted under the law of the District of Columbia. However, defendant contends that the law of New York governs this case. To this view, I cannot subscribe. According to Weingarten's testimony, plaintiff 'agreed' in New York. According to plaintiff's testimony, there is an inference that he did not then and there accept the offer, but returned to Washington and accepted it by performing thereunder in the District of Columbia shortly thereafter. On that hypothesis, the agreement was consummated in the District, a typical case of an informal unilateral contract where the place of contracting is where the act takes place which makes the promise binding. But aside from this, with minor exceptions, the agreement has been performed in its entirety in the District of Columbia throughout the succeeding years.
Under these circumstances, the law of the District governs. Seeman v. Philadelphia Warehouse Co., 274 U.S. 403, 407, 47 S. Ct. 626, 71 L. Ed. 1123; London Assurance v. Companhia de Moagens do Barreiro, 167 U.S. 149, 161, 17 S. Ct. 785, 42 L. Ed. 113; Coghlan v. South Carolina R.R. Co., 142 U.S. 101, 111, 12 S. Ct. 150, 35 L. Ed. 951; Hall v. Cordell, 142 U.S. 116, 12 S. Ct. 154, 35 L. Ed. 956; Equitable Life Assurance Society v. Clements, 140 U.S. 226, 232, 11 S. Ct. 822, 35 L. Ed. 497; Pritchard v. Norton, 106 U.S. 124, 128, 1 S. Ct. 102, 27 L. Ed. 104; Croissant v. Empire State Realty Co., 29 App.D.C. 538, 539.
But, assuming that defendant is correct and that the law of New York governs, the result would be the same. On the first point, see Heaman v. E.N. Rowell Co., 236 App.Div. 34, 258 N.Y.S. 138, which cites with approval the Riefkin case, supra. On the question of lack of authority or ratification, see Schwarz v. E. Regensburg & Sons, 223 N.Y. 521, 119 N.E. 1076; Usher v. N.Y. Central, etc. Company, 76 App.Div. 422, 78 N.Y.S. 508. Cf. Greaves v. American Institute for Scientific Research, 114 Misc. 413; 187 N.Y.S. 420. On the statute of frauds, Eckhart v. Plastic Film Corporation, D.C.Conn., 129 F.Supp. 277 and cases cited therein, persuade me that plaintiff's claim would not be barred by the New York statute of limitations. Bayreuther v. Reinisch, 264 App.Div. 138, 34 N.Y.S.2d 674, relied on by defendant, is distinguishable on the facts.
Both motions for summary judgment will therefore be denied. Counsel will submit orders accordingly.