Texting has become a common form of communication. Smart phones are used less and less as phones and more and more as devices to text and email from. You may see texting as an informal, short hand way to communicate but a Massachusetts case shows you need to be careful with texting because the messages you send may be interpreted by a court as creating a binding contract.
The Massachusetts Land Court ruled in April that a series of text messages between two real estate brokers concerning the purchase and sale of a commercial building may be enough to constitute a “writing” meeting the requirements of the Massachusetts Statute of Frauds. In the St. John’s Holdings, LLC v. Two Electronics, LLC, case the court denied defendant’s motion to dismiss arguing the communications at issue were insufficient to be a contract for sale of real estate. The judge found the communications between the parties,
- Identified the subject of the alleged agreement,
- Showed they made a contract,
- Stated the essential terms of the alleged contract with reasonable certainty,
- Included a form of a signature, and
- May be the legal equivalent of a written document signed by the parties.