I recently asked several litigation attorneys if they had identified any trends in the business world regarding the kinds of conduct that was getting people sued. I got a wide range of answers, but the common theme was: a failure to get an agreement in writing.
One lawsuit arose over a person’s expectation of getting a sales commission based on an alleged oral agreement. Another suit was filed by a spurned real estate buyer after the seller and the seller’s agent made a few oral promises but later took a different course of action.
We live in a world where the pace of business seems ever-increasing. This can be both a blessing and a curse. On the plus side: If we want things to get done quickly, there are plenty of options.
The down-side is that this hurry-hurry mindset can also make us sloppy.
I tell people “always get it in writing.” Get what in writing? Anything that is worth making sure gets done correctly. I’m actually hard-pressed to think of anything in the business world that isn’t worth getting in writing.
A writing could be as simple as an exchange of emails. As long as you can read the exchange and determine who the parties are, what each party is agreeing to do, and the economic terms, you are miles ahead of where you would be if you had only an oral agreement.
Oral agreements are (with some exceptions such as interests in real property) usually enforceable. The biggest challenge with enforcing an oral agreement is proving what the terms are. If you take just a little time to reduce that oral agreement to writing, you will have pretty good evidence of what the agreement is. You will also flush out any disagreements before they turn into big headaches.
So – get it in writing! Drop me a line if you’d like help with that.
Please note: the above post contains educational information. It is not intended as legal advice. Engage an attorney who is licensed in your state to get advice on dealing with any specific legal issue.
© 2018 Michael S. Oswald