OT? Emoji can cause pain?

This YouTuber claims to be a lawyer, and responds to legal stuff “in the news”.

Here he examines a judge’s awarding $61,000 to a flax futures trader based on a contract, that in the judgment, was signed with a thumbs up emoji.

ralph uses the thumbs up a lot.
I think it might be real easy to get in trouble with it.
I OFTEN realize that the person on the other side of the “exchange” is not interpreting the message in the same way that I am interpreting it.

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emojis were invented for, used as, and ought to be understood as emotional add ons to a limited thumb typed crude language often lacking emotional cues. I am very careful to NOT used such for business or legal matters.

Crazy world. :person_shrugging:t2:


That isn’t a thumb Ralph.


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I often use another “single digit” emoji. I wonder what the judges ruling would be on that?

It is totally asinine that an emoji can stand in place of a signature for a binding contract.


I don’t see it as asinine at all.

It’s been a while since my last business law class, but one of the things the professor beat into us was that there is no required format to make a contract legally binding. The Statute of Frauds requires certain contracts to be in writing, but that is about as restrictive as it gets. And even then, there is no required format, just a requirement that the contract be written. A great many contracts can be oral, with no writing at all.

All you need is an offer and an acceptance.

With that in mind, apparently these two parties had a history of informal contracts via text message, with the acceptance sometimes being as simple as a “yep” or a “K”. And both parties performed as required by these prior contracts.

I don’t see it at all crazy that a thumbs up emoji could be interpreted as an acceptance of an offer, particularly when the parties have a history of making contracts via text message.

Of course, the advice our parents gave us back when we were just a year or two old always applies. “Use your words.”

As to that other single digit emoji, I think most people would interpret that as a rejection of the offer. :grinning:



Yes, indeed, and context (past usage, customs of place, etc.) provide the guts of the binding. I agree the judgment was most likely correct, and the emoji-ist was welching on a deal.

I am very wary of using emojis in that way or in many similar situations unless there is prior agreement.

david fb
(When running my gay publishing businesses I kept a written log of all my orally made agreements and noted their reliability enforceability with a number from 1 - 10. Years later I did a statistical summation and found that 1s, 2s, 9s, 10s predominated and the middling 3s - 8s formed an inverted bell curve. My key ad salesman told me that his sales were largely to people who at best "are sleezeballs and at worst bottomless as to lying, fraud, deception, and viciousness. Cheerful work.)


Yep. A friend had a potential book deal, and the publisher sent over a contract via email plus of verbage like read this over, tell us what you think, have your people call my people, etc. She wrote back “sounds good.” She looked over the stuff and changed her mind. Too late. The publisher sued her successfully and made her commit to the deal.


Still sounds sketchy.

Long story short, when we moved in, had an offer and agreement with my new neighbor. He is the old school type that his word and a handshake are all that is needed. Told him I’d have a lawyer put things in writing just in case of a worst case scenario where we both die before anything is done/finished and our heirs wind up in a legal battle because no one knows the full story.

Wish it was as simple as a handshake.

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Oral contracts ARE sketchy. It can be tough to know the details of the contract with any certainty. But they are still legal and have been enforced in court.

In the case at the top of the thread, we don’t have an oral contract. We have a written contract. Yes, it was written in text messages, but it was written.

I don’t blame you for wanting to get things down in a written formal contract drawn up by a lawyer. That’s a good idea. But it’s not necessary. Things can be - and are - done on a handshake all of the time.

Like I said before, all you need is an offer and an acceptance. In your case, it would appear that you actually had that with your neighbor before you had things put into writing. The written contract merely formalized the already existing contract that you had. If something had gone bad between your “handshake” and the signing of the written agreement, either of you could have enforced the agreement in court. Of course, that would likely take both of you admitting to the terms in court, or some witness testifying to the agreement, or perhaps a recording of the conversation where the agreement was reached. And let’s not forget that denying the agreement in court would involve one of you going back on your word, which is bound to be damaging to your neighborly relationship in some way.





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