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What a Tv Star’s Contract Dispute Can Tell Us About Oral Agreements and Their Enforceability in Georgia

Poole Huffman, LLC

Many times, commercial contracts are very intricate and may span across dozens or hundreds of written pages. Sometimes, though, they span zero written pages, because they’re oral contracts. Oral contracts may be somewhat more challenging to enforce as opposed to written agreements, but they are generally enforceable in Georgia in most situations. Whether yours is an oral contract or a written contract, make sure you have the right Atlanta contract attorney by your side when it comes time to go to court to seek enforcement of that agreement.

Sometimes, oral contract disputes and enforcement actions can involve substantial damages in the millions of dollars. That was the case recently for music and TV star Kelly Clarkson. According to a September Deadline article, Clarkson and her management company reached an oral agreement in 2007, in which the agency would help Clarkson find professional opportunities and Clarkson would pay the agency commissions. More than a decade into the deal, a dispute arose regarding commissions Clarkson owed the management firm. Deadline reported that the firm, in its lawsuit, asserted that Clarkson owed it more than $1.4 million and would eventually owe an additional $4 million in estimated commissions.

The agency is litigating the Clarkson case in Los Angeles County, but this case may reasonably lead you to ask… what about my business relationships in Georgia and what happens if someone asserts the existence of an oral contract?

While oral contracts are usually enforceable in Georgia courts, there are some agreements that almost always must be in writing to be enforceable. Under something called the “Statute of Frauds,” these things include: a contract for the sale or lease of real property, a contract for a third party to pay a debt owed by someone else, any agreement to lend money, an agreement to reinstate a debt that was too old under the statute of limitations or a contract that cannot be completed in one year.

When a scenario covered by the Statute of Frauds is not at issue, then your oral contract is usually going to be enforceable, as long as you can prove that the oral agreement had all the essential elements of a valid contract. That may not always be as simple as it might sound. A valid contract must have a “meeting of the minds,” including an offer and an acceptance of that offer. Proving the existence of these things may be made more challenging in the absence of written documents.

Proof of performance can be key in an oral contract case

It is, however, far from impossible. With the right legal team, you can put on compelling evidence of the existence of an oral contract. This may include your testimony and/or statement, and the testimony and/or statement of the other side. Another type of proof that can be vital to success is evidence of your conduct and the conduct of the other side. If you have proof of actions that you and the other side took actions that are consistent with performance of the contract that you asserted to have existed, then that may be the proof you need for a winning case.

Whether your lawsuit relates to an oral contract or a written agreement, you need to protect your business interests by arming yourself with the finest legal counsel. Count on the skilled contract dispute attorneys at Poole Huffman, LLC to provide you with the powerful advocacy you deserve. Contact our attorneys online or by calling 404-373-4008 to schedule your confidential consultation.

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