Can an e-mail be a legally binding contract?

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Can an e-mail be a legally binding contract?

I signed a contract with a former employer to repay a debt. Upon paying 70% on the debt, my former employer sent a email to me indicating the remaining 30% is forgiven. Then 3 years later, he filed a lawsuit claiming “breach of contract” on my part. Can I use the email he sent to me indicating the remaining 30% was forgiven to have the case dismissed in court? Is the email a legally binding document?

Asked on May 6, 2012 under Bankruptcy Law, Georgia

Answers:

FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

Under the laws of all states in this country, an e mail communication typically is not in and of itself enough to create a legally binding contract with another person.

The reasons are as follows:

1. one never knows who he or she is dealing with on the other end of an e mail. Some third person could be communicationg through another person's computer or using another person's e mail account.

2. for a binding written contract, the agreement needs to be signed by the person to be charged with the obligation. An electronic signature does not suffice for the reasons stated in item number one above.


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