What are my rights/responsibilities regarding a verbal agreement?

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What are my rights/responsibilities regarding a verbal agreement?

I am a music promoter in a small town for a local bar/venue. A few weeks ago I spoke to a booking agent for a local, unsigned band to play a show, no ticket sales, free to attend next month. This week, due to budget restrictions and scheduling conflicts, I had to cancel the evening. I promptly notified the booking agent and the band. We had not signed a contract or agreement. The artist(s) are threatening to take me to small claims court for the $300 that they would have made that evening and for time taken off of their day jobs, along with any legal fees. Do they have a case?

Asked on June 4, 2013 under Business Law, Montana

Answers:

Nathan Wagner / Law Office of Nathan Wagner

Answered 8 years ago | Contributor

They might have a case. But they have a duty to mitigate their damages. They will have to show the court that they tried to avoid losing the $300. They will have to convince the judge that, although they were warned a month in advance, they tried but could not book another show or reschedule to be at their day jobs at that time. As a music promoter, you may even be able to testify that they could have booked shows at X, Y, and Z venues at that time. If you convince the court of that, you should be able to defend against their case. 


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