In a groundbreaking case in Canada, a judge ruled that a farmer must pay C$82,000 after a thumbs-up emoji was deemed sufficient to accept contractual terms. Here’s what happened.
“Please Confirm Flax Contract”
The case revolves around Chris Achter, the owner of a farming company in Swift Current, Saskatchewan.
Kent Mickleborough, a grain buyer with South West Terminal, sent a mass text to potential clients in March 2021, expressing interest in purchasing 86 tonnes of flax at a specified price.
Mickleborough engaged in a phone conversation with Achter and later sent him a photo of the contract via text message, accompanied by the message “please confirm flax contract.”
In response, Achter simply sent a thumbs-up emoji.
However, when the due date for the delivery of the flax arrived, Achter failed to fulfill the contract.
To complicate matters further, the price of flax had increased since the original text exchange.
This disagreement led to a legal dispute between the two parties. Mickleborough claimed that the thumbs-up emoji implied Achter’s acceptance of the contractual terms, while Achter argued otherwise.
… To Acknowledge the Text, Not the Contract
In an affidavit, Achter explained that he had used the emoji solely to acknowledge that he had received the text, not as confirmation of the contract.
He stated, “I deny that he accepted the thumbs-up emoji as a digital signature of the incomplete contract. I did not have time to review the flax contract and merely wanted to indicate that I did receive his text message.”
Justice Timothy Keene presided over the case and recognized the complexities of interpreting emoji usage.
He noted that the court had delved into various cases from Israel, New York State, and Canadian tribunals to determine the meaning of the thumbs-up emoji.
WRONG! The Thumbs-up Emoji Constituted a Valid Means of Conveying Acceptance of the Contractual Terms
Ultimately, Justice Keene concluded that in this particular case, the thumbs-up emoji constituted a valid means of conveying acceptance of the contractual terms.
Keene emphasized that while a thumbs-up emoji might be considered a non-traditional way to “sign” a document, it served the purpose of a signature.
He acknowledged that the court should not attempt to impede the progress of technology and common usage.
The judge stated, “This appears to be the new reality in Canadian society, and courts will have to be ready to meet the new challenges that may arise from the use of emojis and the like.”
An Opportunity To Introduce New Interpretations or Meanings To Existing Emojis
However, Justice Keene clarified that this ruling should not be seen as an opportunity to introduce new interpretations or meanings to existing emojis.
He expressed confidence that the decision would not open the floodgates to an array of unforeseen interpretations.
Several social media users shared their thoughts on the incident.
“Contracts Can Be Oral and Written, so a Thumbs-up Emoji Would Most Certainly Signify Agreement”
One Twitter user wrote, “As Canada follows English common law, this makes sense. Contracts can be oral and written, so a thumbs-up emoji would most certainly signify agreement.”
Another user joked, “Sheeet. I sent a sarcastic thumbs-up to a marriage proposal. Does this mean I’m married?”
The post Emoji Justice – Canadian Farmer’s Thumbs-Up Costs Him C$82,000 in Landmark ‘Flax’ Ruling first appeared on The Net Worth Of.
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Source: LAD Bible