New York, NY asked in Contracts, Civil Litigation, Small Claims and Libel & Slander for New York

Q: Can my friend sue me for rent and transportation services after I stayed with them as a guest?

I recently stayed at my friend's apartment. I had asked in advance if I could come and she consented. We did not discuss any payment. I slept on the apartment floor for 5 nights. They picked me up from the airport and we did some travel activities together. We also did some outdoor photo shoot sessions together (nothing compromising), since my friend is a photographer.

 After I left, we had a falling out. My friend sent me a nasty email demanding I pay her $1700 for the photos and $1100 for rent and transportation fees from my visit. Scared by her email, I texted her "I’m happy to pay the expenses you demanded" attempting to mollify her anger. She did not respond to this text. I then blocked her, but paid for the photos since I felt that was fair. But I refused to pay for the rent and transportation costs she demanded. She sent me angry emails, threatening to defame me on social media. She is now threatening to sue me. Does my text message count as a binding contract to pay?

1 Lawyer Answer
Carl Nelson
Carl Nelson

A: A text, after the fact, stating “ I’m happy to pay the expenses you demanded” is not itself a contract. The factual circumstances and your friend’s specific claim as to why they claim you owe the money will be the relevant points. If, for example, your friend claimed there was in fact an agreement for you to pay $2,800, your text and your payment of part of what they claim could be evidence of that agreement.

As far as your friend’s threats, you could remind them, with the threat of litigation or through an attorney, that their conduct could lead to an actionable defamation claim.

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