Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Binding Contracts Created by Email

As e-mail exchanges become more and more prevalent in our everyday lives, the courts are beginning to hold that e-mails can create binding, written, contracts. As noted here:
[F]or good or for ill, parties now can conclude a contract, or amend an existing contract, via e-mail....

As ... recent decisions reflect, e-mail contracting can be an effective way to form an enforceable contract. They can however be a boon or curse. E-mail is a casual and speedy form of communications, previously unheard of in the practice of law and which belies its potential legal import.

Parties wishing to avoid the impact of a ruling that e-mail communications have created contractual obligations (or have amended an existing contract) should do what parties do in the traditional context: Make it clear that they do not intend for a contract to be formed until all documentation is fully completed and signed.

In other words, everyone should stop and think before hitting "send."

Monday, May 12, 2008

Beware of Another Tax Scam

With the arrival of the economic stimulus checks comes news of yet-another scam aimed at your taxes:
In the economic stimulus payment scam, people call or e-mail residents, saying they work for the Internal Revenue Service or the Social Security Administration. They ask for personal information, including Social Security and bank account numbers....
Remember: as a general rule you should never give out your social security or bank information to any one who calls you on the telephone.

Monday, May 5, 2008

Seneca County honors judges on Law Day

From the Finger Lakes Times:
100-plus people filled the courtroom of the Ovid Courthouse on May 1 - Law Day - to pay tribute to the 20 judges who have presided over Seneca County Supreme Court since the mid-1800s....

In dramatic voices, readers introduced their subjects. A brief biography of Judge David Herron was read by Attorney Steve Getman; followed by Ovid Town Supervisor David Dresser reading that of Judge James K. Richardson; Judge John E. Seeley by Mary Lou Seeley Schwartzberg; and Judge Sterling G. Hadley by John Porter. Ben Franklin offered details of the life of Judge George W. Franklin; Casey McDonald read the biography of Judge Addison Knox; Judge Josiah T. Miller was presented by Seneca County Assistant District Attorney Mark Sinkiewicz; Judge Gilbert Wilcoxen by Peter Wilcoxen; Judge Peter H. VanAuken by Barry Roach; and Judge William C. Hazelton by Romulus Town Supervisor David Kaiser.

As each biography was read, recently retired Seneca County bailiff Webb Rankin drew the audience's attention to the accompanying portraits hanging on the wall. The originals, displayed at the Waterloo courthouse, were borrowed and cleaned, reproduced and framed as permanent additions to the Ovid courtroom.

As one of the participants, I would like to think Dan Motill, President of the Friends of the Three Bears, for his work organizing this ceremony and for his other work on behalf of the historic Ovid complex.

Thursday, May 1, 2008

May 1 is Law Day

Since 1958, our nation has set aside each May 1 as Law Day, to celebrate “the principle of government under law."

Locally, the Seneca County Criminal Justice Advisory Board and the Friends of the Three Bears are commemorating the fiftieth anniversary of this important event by staging a number of events throughout the county.

In the morning the Criminal Justice Advisory Board will assist local high school students with a review of the local legal system:

Students will accompany attorneys, judges, police officers and other government officials during their day to day activities. They will be able to observe court cases, police activities and other functions of the legal system.

Later that evening, the historic court complex in Ovid, New York, known as the “Three Bears,” will host a “Tribute to the Judges.” During that event, members of the legal community and others will discuss some of the history of the old courthouse and the judges who presided there.

More information on each event can be found by clicking on the links above. For information about the history of Law Day nationally click here.