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Could Instant Messages Create a Binding Contract under New York Law?


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1/1/2016
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Even without a written agreement, you may still have a claim for breach of contract under New York law. Whether your claim will hold up in court depends on the unique facts and circumstances surrounding your matter. A recent New York breach of contract lawsuit highlights the issues surrounding breach of contract claims involving oral agreements. Perry Management, LLC was sued by Solus Alternative Asset Management, LP after allegedly entering into an agreement through phone calls and “instant messages.”

Could Solus have a claim for breach of contract in New York against Perry? Possibly. Solus must show that:

  • There was an enforceable agreement in place
  • That Solus fulfilled its obligations under that agreement
  • That Perry breached the agreement
  • That Solus suffered damages as a result

Even without a written contract, Solus could still prove that an enforceable agreement existed by using electronic communications, such as the “instant messages,” to show agreement over the terms of the deal. This would include the quantity of the items to be sold, the price, and the time and manner of delivery. Perry has attempted to have the claims against it dismissed. A New York judge will rule on the motion in the coming months.

To learn more about oral contracts in New York, view our free breach of contract guide, When You Don’t Have a Written Agreement. For more information, contact an experienced New York business litigation lawyer today. Call our office at (888) 497-3410 for a free consultation.



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