CLIENT SPOTLIGHT: Grillo's Pickles

If you haven't been to the Grillo's Pickles website, you should. There, you'll find the fantastic story of how this company began. We've copied part of it here to save you a click.

Grillo's Pickles began with a pickle cart, just a small wooden stand in downtown Boston, where Travis Grillo and his friends would sell two spears for one dollar. Travis would make the pickles by night using his family's 100-year old recipe - one he'd memorized from making pickles every summer as a kid. In the morning, Travis would bike to the Boston Common and set up the cart with his buddies. They'd hang out all day, urging people to try the simple Grillo family pickle. It was a small business but Travis worked hard for it. He made more pickles, biked more miles, and slept less hours than he ever had before.
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CLIENT SPOTLIGHT: Factory Five Racing

Factory Five Racing was founded in 1995. Over the years they have grown from a start-up business in a small garage to become the world's largest manufacturer of "build-it-yourself" component car kits. They employ a full-time crew of about 40 people, and are located in Wareham, Massachusetts (about an hour south of Boston). They make their products right here in the USA, in the heart of New England where American manufacturing was born.
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Fred and Danny Magnanimi grew up watching their father create beautiful, handcrafted jewelry in the family's Cranston, RI jewelry manufacturing business. When the boys grew up, Fred moved to New York and began working on Wall Street as an investment banker, while younger brother Danny, still enamored by the family business, stayed home. Increased competition from overseas businesses created significant challenges for the business, but Danny was confident he could find a way for the family business to evolve and thrive. This was his mission, this was his passion.
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        Text Message Creates a Contract

        St. John’s Holdings, LLC v. Two Electronics, LLC, Case No. 16 MISC 000090 (RBF) (Massachusetts Land Court, April 14, 2016).

        This is a departure from our usual review of recent cases involving the insurance industry. The case that is highlighted concerns a real estate transaction and is reported here because it underscores the cautions of our main article – that informal means of communication (texts, emails, instant messaging, social media exchanges) may create legal obligations and be found to have legal significance in a myriad of circumstances.

        St. John’s Holdings, LLC (Buyer) was in negotiations for the purchase of a building from Two Electronics, LLC (Seller) in which the parties’ agents carried out their extensive dealings through electronic communications including email, text and phone. At some point in the discussions, Seller believed it was free to engage in negotiations with others and pursued a sale to another entity. But Buyer believed it had accepted the terms of Seller’s offer as expressed through a text message that Seller’s agent had sent to Buyer’s broker. The message indicated that to close the deal Buyer need only sign as letter of intent and deliver a deposit check. Buyer did both of these things. When Buyer later learned that Seller had entered a sales agreement with a third party, it brought this action alleging breach of contract and seeking a declaratory judgment and specific performance.

        The Essex County Land Court of the Massachusetts Trial Court found that the Seller’s agent’s text was a “writing” and, “reading the context of the exchanges between the parties [], contains sufficient terms to state a binding contract….” Not only did the multiple writings relating to the negotiations, read together, contain all the material terms of the contract, the court found that “the way in which the parties handled the transaction was sufficient for them to appreciate that the text message would memorialize the contractual offer and acceptance.”

        The same factors applied by the court to conclude the Seller’s agent’s text had legal significance are embodied in Rhode Island’s Uniform Electronic Transactions Act. This decision also confirms that courts increasingly are bringing the law into line with the way business routinely is conducted in today’s world, and is a cautionary tale for those who enjoy the conveniences and advantages of doing business via email and text.