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Oral Contracts Can Be Binding in New York: Just Ask Shakira!

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Do contracts have to be in writing to be valid in New York? Not necessarily. It is true that certain types of agreements must be in writing to be valid under New York law. Others, however, can be oral agreements and still be binding. If a party to your oral contract has committed a breach, contact an experienced New York breach of contract attorney today for guidance.

Pop star Shakira is being sued in New York by her former boyfriend, Antonio de la Rua, for breach of contract and breach of fiduciary duty. De la Rua alleges that Shakira failed to uphold their business agreement and now owes him a share of her past and future partnership profits. De la Rua further asserts that he agreed to take control of developing Shakira’s brand using his business and marketing skills, and in exchange, Shakira agreed to give him a share of the profits from her music and business ventures. No written agreement was ever executed.

If the contract between Shakira and de la Rua does not fall into the category of agreements that must be in writing in New York, de la Rua could potentially seek recovery for his losses by claiming promissory estoppel. He would have to show that:

  • The promise between him and Shakira was clear and unambiguous
  • He reasonably and foreseeably relied upon the promise
  • He suffered substantial financial losses as a result of his reliance on that promise

Our free guide When You Don’t Have a Written Agreement offers additional guidance about bringing a breach of contract claim in New York without a written contract. Contact an experienced New York business litigation lawyer today for more information. Call our office at (888) 497-3410 for a free consultation.

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