Email Exchange Satisfies Statute of Frauds

Typewritten signatures at the end of emails comprising an offer and an acceptance satisfy the statute of frauds in New York, under the First Department’s decision in Stevens v. Publicis, S.A., 2008 N.Y. Slip Op. 2880, 2008 N.Y. App. Div. 2834 (1st Dept. April 1, 2008). Here is the exchange of emails with the Court’s commentary:

"Thus I suggested an allocation of your time that would permit the majority of your effort to go against new business development (70%). I also suggested that the remaining time be allocated to maintaining/growing the former Lobsenz Stevens clients (20%) and involvement in management/operations of the unit (10%). This option, it would seem, is in your best interest because it offers the best opportunity for you to achieve your stated goal of a full earn-out. When I suggested this option, you seemed to have considerable enthusiasm for it and expressed your satisfaction with it so I, of course, assumed that it was an option you preferred [emphasis added]."

By e-mail the next day, plaintiff wrote:

"Bob, to begin with, I want to thank you again for helping me restore the dignity and respect that I'm entitled to as a senior professional. Things were really getting out of hand until you intervened.

"What's happened since the lunch you and I had has been almost cathartic. . .

"That being said, I accept your proposal with total enthusiasm and excitement. . .

"I'm psyched again and will do everything in my power to generate business, maintain profits, work well with others and move forward [emphasis added]." Bloom replied the same day:

"I am thrilled with your decision. You have my personal assurance that all of us will continue to work in the spirit of partnership to achieve our mutual goal and function together as close senior collaborators in a climate of respect and dignity for all."

Each of the e-mail transmissions bore the typed name of the sender at the foot of the message.

The Court’s conclusion:

The e-mails from plaintiff constitute "signed writings" within the meaning of the statute of frauds, since plaintiff's name at the end of his e-mail signified his intent to authenticate the contents (see Rosenfeld v Zerneck, 4 Misc 3d 193 [2004]). Similarly, Bloom's name at the end of his e-mail constituted a "signed writi ng" and satisfied the requirement of § 13(d) of the employment agreement that any modification be signed by all parties.

Compare our post of October 3, 2007, discussing SD Protection, Inc. v. Del Rio, 498 F.Supp.2d 576 (E.D.N.Y. 2007),. The difference: Stevens was tried to a jury.

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