A Canadian farmer has been ordered to pay $92,520 after using a “thumbs-up” emoji in response to a text message contract. The farmer, Chris Achter, received a message from grain buyer Kent Mickleborough offering to buy flax. Achter responded with a thumbs-up emoji, but when the flax didn’t arrive in November as stated in the contract, Mickleborough took legal action. The judge ruled that Achter’s use of the emoji constituted acceptance of the contract and made him legally obligated to fulfill it. Achter argued that the emoji only confirmed receipt of the contract and that he expected a complete contract to be sent by fax or email for his review and signature. However, the judge disagreed and stated that the emoji served as a non-traditional way of signing the contract. Achter’s legal team expressed concerns about the precedent this ruling could set for other emojis in legal agreements, but the judge dismissed these concerns, acknowledging that technology and emojis are becoming more common in society. This ruling highlights the need for courts to adapt to new challenges brought about by the use of emojis and similar forms of communication.
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