What Makes a Contract Legally Binding? Part 2
As Orlando construction lawyers we understand that construction projects typically move at rapid speed. The quicker and efficient the process the better. This is why electronic contractual agreements are becoming more common. However, construction professionals should be cautious about conducting business by email and text messaging.
If you decided to engage in contractual agreements via email, it’s important that you add disclaimers so that each party is aware that proposed agreements are subject to relevant conditions and further review or that a definitive agreement is required in writing before a contract is deemed valid. This way, a casual negotiation does not get misconstrued as a legally binding contract.
A Word on Text Messaging
We live in a mobile-friendly world, this means that not only do we use our phones and iPads for personal pleasure, but also for business transactions. Like emails, text messages have the potential to form a binding contract if the elements of an offer, acceptance, and consideration take place. As with the case of St. John’s Holdings, LLC v. Two Electronics, LLC, a string of texts were proven to be “writings” under the Statute of Frauds which requires certain contracts to be in writing to be enforceable. Although this case was not a construction-related case, it serves as proof that even the construction professionals should be mindful of how they conduct business.
How to Avoid Creating Unintentional Contracts
You can avoid misunderstandings by making sure your casual conversation whether in person, email or text is not misconstrued as a formal agreement. Educate your entire team about electronic communication. Inform that it is retrieval and can be used against them in a contract dispute. Put language in place to safeguard your electronic communication that conveys that the communication does not serve as an offer, acceptance, or agreement.
Disclaimer: The information contained in this article is for general educational information only. This information does not constitute legal advice, is not intended to constitute legal advice, nor should it be relied upon as legal advice for your specific factual pattern or situation.