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 If the promisor's main purpose in acting as a surety is to secure a benefit to himself, either personal or pecuniary, the promise to guarantee the debt of another is taken out of the statute.


The 'leading object' rule excuses the writing requirement of the statute of frauds and, in effect, makes an oral promise into an enforceable contract. The driving principle of the leading object rule is to prevent the use of the writing requirement to 'effectuate a wrong' 'which the statute's enactment was to prevent.' Wilson Floors v. Sciota Park, Ltd., 54 Ohio St.2d 451, 460, 377 N.E.2d 514 (1978).


The Ohio Supreme Court explains: 'When the leading object of the promisor is not to answer for another's debt but to subserve some pecuniary or business purpose of his own involving a benefit to himself, his promise is not within the statute of frauds, although the original debtor may remain liable.' Wilson Floors, supra, syllabus. In Ohio, when the rule began to emerge as a defense or excuse to the requirements of the statute of frauds, one test for the application of the rule was whether the promisor had become primarily or ...

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