Q: Can there be a NY breach of contract without an actual contract?
Short answer: Yes. But there’s a little more to it than that.
A contract is defined as an agreement between two parties. But I thought a contract is a signed piece of paper protecting the people on both sides? Yes, that little piece of paper is a contract. But a signed legal document isn’t necessary for a legally binding contract. It is any agreement made between two parties that could have legal significance.
Let’s say for example you’re selling a car on a local classifieds section for $10,000. You get an email of an offer from a collector offering $12,000 and you agree to set up a meeting to sell the car. Another email comes in offering the $10,000 list price, but you have to turn him down because another, higher offer has already come to the table. Now the first person is a no-show and won’t respond to any emails.
You contact the second person and they’re no longer interested, and now you can’t find an offer over $6,000. The first person went back on the agreement he made with you, and while there was no complicated contract filled out all in legalese, you may have a case for a breach of contract. This person could have cost you $4,000! This also applies to non-written agreements, such as phone calls or discussions in person, but those are a bit harder to prove in the New York court of law.
If you feel you may have a case for a breach of contract, even one that isn’t written out on paper, contract a New York business litigation attorney who can help you with your questions. The Law Offices of Jonathan M. Cooper offer free consultations. You can also order their free book online When You Don’t Have a Written Agreement.