The requirements of a legal contract vary depending on what you are talking about, but in its most basic terms there has to be an offer and acceptance. A contract can be verbal and does not have to be in writing or signed (except for contracts for certain things and dollar amounts). In short, the answer is yes, but could be no depending on what it was and whether you two really were in agreement. Also think practically about it before spending time and money pursuing the issue.
Legal analysis is highly case and fact sensitive. Incomplete or inaccurate information may dramatically change the answer. All answers provided are based on the information available. The answer is not intended to be relied on as legal advice. If you have a legal question you should consult an attorney by phone or in person. Initial consultations are often provided by practitioners at a reduced rate and can greatly inform your course of action. Also please note that there are statutes of limitations the limit your ability to proceed with certain legal claims and enforcement of rights if too much time has passed.
While more details are needed, a contract in Oregon can generally be put into effect by email. Under an Oregon state law, known as UETA, however, the parties must "agree" that email is binding. According to that law, whether the parties actually agreed as much is "determined from the context and surrounding circumstances, including the parties' conduct.” A nationwide law, called ESIGN, also promotes the use of email to make agreements across state lines. However...
There may be other issues, depending on the facts. To enforce the agreement, a court would ask: Would a "reasonable person" in the party's position see the email as creating a binding contract? That's a more technical question than it sounds. An attorney can advise you, for example, as to whether the email's wording is firm enough, or whether something you thought was the final agreement was in fact only a counter-offer.
In addition, it's not clear how the agreement was to be put into effect. For instance, the initial offer may have said that the other party could accept only by emailing a reply, or, perhaps, only by actually doing what the agreement calls for. Other loopholes exist as well.
On all of these issues and others in this matter, you should consult an attorney if you can. If the amount at issue is so low as to make it impractical to hire an attorney, you might consider representing yourself. But investigate your options first.
I agree with the other attorneys. Some issues will be whether the other person was supposed to pay you before or after you gave them whatever it was and whether you've kept your part of the bargain. If you gave the person that thing and they simply have not paid you, then you probably have a breach of contract claim or may also have a claim for what the item was worth.
Please note: This answer is not intended and should not be considered as legal advice. Such professional advice requires full disclosure to an attorney of a client’s circumstances and that attorney’s opportunity to analyze those circumstances against applicable law.
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