Magazine article Information Management

NY Court Rules E-Mail Signatures Valid

Magazine article Information Management

NY Court Rules E-Mail Signatures Valid

Article excerpt

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A U.S. state of appeals panel recently ruled that signing your name to an e-mail is comparable to physically signing a printed document. This is the third appeals panel to support the validity of e-mail in contractual negotiations.

"Given the widespread use of e-mail as a form of written communication in both personal and business affairs, it would be unreasonable to conclude that e-mail messages are incapable of conforming to the criteria of CPLR [Civil Practice Law and Rules] 2104 simply because they cannot be physically signed in a traditional fashion," New York Appellate Justice Sandra Sgroi wrote in Forcelli v. Gelco Corporation, 27584/08. CPLR 2104 states that "an agreement between parties or their attorneys relating to any matter in an action ... is not binding upon a party unless it is in a writing subscribed by him or his attorney." It also requires the agreement be "signed" by the party or the attorney.

The Forcelli case centered on the enforceability of an e-mail that summarized an apparent agreement to settle a claim from an automobile accident. The official settlement documents, mailed the following day, pointedly referenced the e-mail confirmation. …

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