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Text Messages Can Establish a Valid Contract

by | Breach of Contract

They say, “No good deed goes unpunished,” but with the right lawyer, you may get rewarded after all. While it is not a good idea to do work for someone without a written contract, sometimes you can still prevail in a lawsuit as demonstrated in a recent case. Our firm helped a client establish a valid contract with text messages allowing him to obtain a property at a significant profit.

The firm was engaged by a contractor/developer who found himself in a unique predicament. Three years ago, our client ‘C’ developed and sold a $2 million home to a family. Two months later, C drove by the residence and noticed that water was flowing out of the basement windows. Since it was in the middle of the winter, C came upon the property to alert the owners that they must have suffered a water leak due to frozen pipes. Upon inspection, he noticed that the house was completely vacant, as if nobody had lived there since it was sold. After unsuccessfully trying to reach the owners on their cell phone, C unlatched the basement window and terminated the water service to the house. By that time, the water damage decimated 75 percent of the home. C continued to attempt to reach the owners for several months, to no avail. 

That following summer, C took it upon himself to commence restoring the house. Within months, C spent more than $300,000 in materials, supplies and laborers. During the summer, the owners called C and told him that they left the country abruptly and that they heard he saved their house from total water and mold damage. The owners promised to immediately send C a check for his invoices. Two months later, the owners told C that they could not send money to the United States. Through a series of ‘WhatsApp’ text messages, the owners repeatedly praised C for his efforts and stated that they would pay him when they could. 

At that point, C became concerned because he had no means to recover his investment from the owners. C filed mechanics liens against the premises and consulted with our firm to discuss his options. During our initial consultation, we asked C to describe the sum and substance of his text-message communications with the owners. C informed us that he and the owners sent various text messages wherein they agreed that in lieu of paying C, they would sell him the residence for $1 million. Upon review of the messages, we asked C if he was interested in enforcing that agreement to sell. C was surprised that this option was viable and emphatically responded that he wanted to proceed. Litigation followed.

Ultimately, we persuaded the Court to enforce the text messages as an ordinary real estate contract. What this meant to C was that he was able to acquire a property that had appreciated to $2 million+ for only $920,000 because our firm was able to establish a valid contract with text messages. 

Final result: Barnes & Barnes successfully litigated a contract specific enforcement claim to procure a 7-figure profit for our client. Good guys can finish first after all. Contact us today to assist in your contact negotiations.

Disclaimer: Prior results do not guarantee a similar outcome.

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