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As the nuances of day-to-day business operation become more complex, Abronson Law is here to help you avoid unnecessary business litigation.
Everyday, business professionals send and receive dozens, if not hundreds, of e-mails. Approximately 247 billion e-mail messages are sent every day, according to ABC News. For many professionals, the volume of work e-mails sent and received can be overwhelming. As professionals wade through the daily e-mail morrass as quickly as possible, they should be aware that even quick, seemingly innocuous e-mails can lead to the unintentional formation of a binding contract. As state and federal laws became more e-commerce friendly, it’s important to understand what types of communication can potentially bind parties.
In 2000, Congress enacted the Electronic Signatures in Global and National Commerce Act (E-SIGN Act), 15 U.S.C. Section 7001 et seq. (2006). The purpose of the E-SIGN Act is to facilitate the use of electronic records and signatures in e-commerce, and to recognize the validity and binding effect of e-contracts. The Act emphasizes that a contract cannot be denied legal effect simply because e-records were relied upon in the formation of the contract. The Act also preempts all conflicting state laws, while at the same time exempting wills, trusts, and family law matters from coverage. In addition, California adopted the Uniform Electronic Transactions Act (UETA) – a model state law meant to further facilitate electronic transactions within the state.
After the E-SIGN Act and UETA, even simple, everyday e-mail exchanges may ultimately manifest a “meeting of the minds,” even if that is not what was intended. For example, ambiguous communication with customers or B2B partners can be the basis for a contract if employees are not careful.
The attorneys at Abronson Law have experience with the nuances of e-contracting. Our team of experts can arm you and your employees with the knowledge to avoid unintentional e-contracts. We can help you draft policies, disclaimers, and practices likely to avoid unintended contracting — and the subsequent expenses related to any business litigation that may result from an e-mail exchange.
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