What to do about the alleged breach of a verbal contract?

UPDATED: Mar 10, 2013

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What to do about the alleged breach of a verbal contract?

A graphic designer was creating a brochure for my business. I told her i was checking prices and my brochure wad ready for a printer. Ultimately, i was not satisfied and told her i was not interested in her product. I tried to work out our differences, but she stopped corresponding with me. A year later she has filed a lawsuit saying i broke our verbal agreement and wants to be paid for the time she worked on my project. What are my chances in winning this case?

Asked on March 10, 2013 under Business Law, Pennsylvania


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

An oral (that's the better term than "verbal") contract to perform services is enforceable--as enforceable, legally, as a written contract. So if there was an agreement that she would do the work and she did it, she could sue to enforce the agreement. She would have to prove the existence and terms of the contract in court, such as through testimony; you could defend by disputing the existence or terms (e.g., saying that while you and she discussed the matter, you never gave her the go-ahead to start, and thus never entered into the agreement), or by showing that her work was not commercially acceptable--that is, not that you personally were not satisfied, but that no reasonable business person would find her work acceptable.

As to the chance of winning: there is no way to say; to a large extent, it will come down to how credible you each are, and also to what her work looks like.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although AttorneyPages.com has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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