Law School Case Brief
Trinity Homes, L.L.C. v. Fang - 63 Va. Cir. 409 (Cir. Ct. 2003)
Transmitting a fax is like mailing an acceptance under the mailbox rule, where an offer is accepted when it is deposited in the mail.
Several limited liability companies (LLCs) filed an action against defendant sellers that arose from the LLCs' alleged offer to purchase real property that was sent to the sellers via facsimile (fax). The agent for the LLCs claimed that he sent an offer to the agent for the sellers via fax and that the offer should have been considered accepted, under the mailbox rule, upon transmission.
Did the mailbox rule apply to the LLCs' fax transmission?
The court concluded that the mailbox rule was applicable under the circumstances of the case, because a fax transmission, properly sent, was essentially equivalent to a two-way communication. However, the LLCs did not provide sufficient evidence that the transmission was actually sent. The agent's fax machine did not provide any verification that the transmission was sent or received. There were no fax log or telephone records to show proper transmission. The agent could not say with certainty if the fax actually went through, other than to say that he placed the fax in the fax machine, turned it on, and then left before viewing and/or verifying its transmission. The burden was on the LLCs to prove by preponderance of the evidence that the fax transmission was actually made and accomplished. The court, in considering the totality of the evidence and the totality of the circumstances, concluded that the burden had not been met. Thus, the court found in favor of the sellers.
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