Additional Information:My Boston based business is being sued for a debt from a production company who provided services and was only paid about 20% of the debt. It has been 2 years and we have not had the funds to pay. It was a deal between corporations and it was not in writing and the amount owed is in dispute. We never got our film footage. There was no contract. Does Mass law require contracts between businesses to be in writing? Is not having a contract in writing a good defense? Our company cannot pay it now yet it could within the year and they would have been paid. Now the time we are wasting for the same end result makes me want to lower this as much as possible. What can we do?
ATTORNEY ANSWER: Under Massachusetts law, an oral contract is enforceable in court unless the statute of frauds requires such a contract to be in writing. Your contract does not appear to fall within the statute of frauds unless it was “an agreement that is not to be performed within one year from the making thereof”, but I cannot tell from the information you have provide in your question. You state that the amount owed is in dispute, but you do not say why it is in dispute. This dispute should likely be brought as a counterclaim. As you do not have the ability to pay this debt, you certainly do not want to have to pay an attorney a lot of money to defend this matter. My recommendation would be to try to mediate this case and negotiate the debt down as low as possible based upon your dispute and then try to enter into a modest payment plan that you can afford.
The Greater Boston Business Litigation Attorneys at Goldman & Pease provide legal representation for contract disputes and all business related matters in Needham, Massachusetts and the surrounding communities including Newton, Brookline, Dedham, Westwood, Dover, Wellesley, Weston and the entire Boston Metrowest region.