Image: Graur Razvan Ionut- FreeDigitalPhotos
Yesterday, I had a most disturbing conversation with a prospective client on a breach of contract matter.
Our conversation ended poorly - and after only a few minutes. I told him, "I'm sorry. I can't help you." He responded, "It's a binding contract. And if you can't help me, your business should be closed."
In truth, my gut told me this was not going to be a viable case when he couldn't answer my first question, which was "What are your damages as a result of the breach of the agreement?"
Why This Prospective Client Thought He Had a Valid Breach of Contract Case
After a short back and forth, this prospective client, whom we'll call "C," finally told me that his "case" arose because he was being sent e-mail spam, and in response, he sent back his own "contract" obligating the other side to pay him millions of dollars in damages if they continued to e-mail him. He also claimed that they had electronically signed his "contract," which bound them to his terms.
Why This Supposed Breach of Contract Case Was Actually Frivolous
Even assuming that C had, in fact, checked all of the necessary proverbial boxes to have a valid breach of contract claim (he hadn't) there were several reasons why such a claim would never gain any real traction, primary of which are the following:
First, the rules and penalties for e-mail spam are governed by the CAN-SPAM Act of 2003 which is overseen by the Federal Trade Commission, which limits penalties to $11,000; and,
Second, there is just no way that any judge in New York would award him millions of dollars for getting some e-mail spam.
Simply put, this guy was looking to game the system, and get a windfall for, essentially, nothing.
That's not what the justice system is about, and his lack of respect for the system was, quite frankly, appalling.