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Massachusetts Judge Decides E-mail Exchange Sufficient To Form An Enforceable Settlement Agreement

March 10, 2008

By Ryan E. Lewis, Stefanie H. Jackman and Kristin A. Potchynok

After revolutionizing the way businesses communicate and conduct business, e-mail now stands to transform the way lawyers negotiate. Significantly, as e-mail replaces more conventional modes of communication and contract formation, judges are embracing e-mail exchanges as a medium through which parties can form binding settlement agreements.

For example, in a recent decision from a Massachusetts appellate court, Basis Tech. Corp. v. Amazon.com, Inc., the court upheld the trial courts decision that an e-mail exchange between the parties formed a binding settlement agreement. The appellate court enforced the settlement terms found in an e-mail exchange against Amazon.