Does your jurisdiction maintain a list of trusted entities to qualify e-signatures?
Massachusetts does not maintain such a list. Instead, signature attribution is determined from the context and circumstances surrounding its creation and execution.
Please provide a quick overview of the law, i.e., types of contracts that qualify for use with e-signature.
The MA UETA applies to electronic records and electronic signatures relating to a wide range of corporate and commercial transactions between parties which have agreed to conduct transactions by electronic means, except for transactions governed by:
- a law governing the creation and execution of wills, codicils or testamentary trusts;
- the Uniform Commercial Code (M.G.L. ch. 106), other than sales and leases governed by ch. 106, Sections 2 and 2A, to which the MA UETA does apply;
- a state statute, regulation, or other rule of law governing adoption, divorce or other matters of family law;
- court orders or notices, or official court documents, including briefs, pleadings and other writings, required to be executed in connection with court proceedings;
- a statute, regulation, or other rule of law governing any notice of the cancellation or termination of utility services, including water, heat and power; or of the default, acceleration, repossession, foreclosure, or eviction, or the right to cure, under a credit agreement secured by, or a rental agreement for, a primary residence of an individual;
- a statute, regulation, or other rule of law governing the cancellation or termination of health insurance or benefits or life insurance benefits, excluding annuities;
- a statute, regulation, or other rule of law governing recall of a product, or material failure of a product, that risks endangering health or safety; or
- any document, required by a statute, regulation, or other rule of law governing, to accompany any transportation or handling of hazardous materials, pesticides or other toxic or dangerous materials.
What is the legality of e-signatures in your jurisdiction? Are there key exceptions?
E-signatures are legal with certain exceptions, as detailed above. Subject to such exceptions and pursuant to Section 7 of the MA UETA, (i) a record or signature may not be denied legal effect or enforceability solely because it is in electronic form, (ii) a contract may not be denied legal effect or enforceability solely because an electronic record was used in its formation, (iii) if a law requires a record to be in writing, an electronic record satisfies the law, and (iv).
Pursuant to Section 9 of the MA UETA, an electronic record or electronic signature is attributable to a person if it was the act of the person. The act of the person may be shown in any manner, including a showing of the efficacy of any security procedure applied to determine the person to which the electronic record or electronic signature was attributable. The effect of an electronic record or electronic signature attributed to a person under Section 9 of the MA EUTA is determined from the context and surrounding circumstances at the time of its creation, execution, or adoption, including the parties’ agreement, if any, and otherwise as provided by law.
Furthermore, Section 11 of the MA UETA provides that if a law requires a signature or record to be notarized, acknowledged, verified, or made under oath, the requirement is satisfied if the electronic signature of the person authorized to perform those acts, together with all other information required to be included by other applicable law, is attached to or logically associated with the signature or record.
What is the e-signature law enforceable in your jurisdiction?
M.G.L. ch. 110G, the Massachusetts Uniform Electronic Transactions Act (the “MA UETA”).