I am working (as a software developer) for a US company owner and I work over internet from INDIA (I communicate by skype and email only).
I have no actual contract with him. I never received a legal document or contract paper or NDA from him by email that says I must finish the project or can't leave before a particular period.
We agreed upon rates but I NEVER guaranteed that I will deliver the project without failure. I also clearly told them when they asked about it and they continued to work means they were aware about it and they agreed upon it.
Here are our two different email conversations
1. Initial conversation regarding Payment and hours
I said "I will be able to finish this app within 200 hours . Please remember this is an estimate only so It can finish one or two weeks earlier or later."
"Could you please confirm you agree with the following Hours needed: 200 to 280 (maximum)
Cost per Hour: US$ 15"
and I agreed.
2. Conversation after almost 200 hours (when I extended deadlines due to issues and errors I was getting in the code)
"You must without fail deliver the project with minimal functional requirements. You understand that we mean minimum functional requirements? YES/NO"
"In this project, the Minimum function requirement will be achieved ONLY WHEN project is complete.I believe that no iPhone Developer can guarantee this "Without Fail Deliver The Project'. Although I have figured out and fixed several problems of this project in the past, I CAN NOT GUARANTEE about next problems that have not appeared so far.
I CAN NOT GUARANTEE to "Without Fail Deliver The Project' with a deadline (within 2 weeks) as I will need more time to fix that error and it will depend upon you and your company whether you will give me more time and trust me or not."
They kept paying after this email and I kept working.
I am 70 to 80% done with coding. I have given him all the programming code that I developed so far and no payment is due now. But project is still not complete (20% to 30% remaining).
Now I have decided to quit. We have email agreement of hours and payments but we don't have any email agreement or formal contract that says anything about "Termination". It means it is "WILL Based" and I can leave any time.
I just don't want to work with them anymore. I am not worried about my reputation and career damage. I just want to know what can happen if I quit and they file a lawsuit for damage recovery (From US court to INDIA court)
1. If they file a lawsuit, will it be a criminal case or civil case? you saw that I never guaranteed or specify any certainty.
2. Can I go to jail for it? I am just leaving my project. Is it a crime?
3. What are my chance of winning? Remember I have no formal contract, termination agreement and I never guaranteed anything and I informed them about it.
4. What if I tell them that I am leaving project but I am ready to issue a refund for the code part that is not working. All issue is because of money. I earned $8000 and I am ready to refund $4000 or maximum (up to) $6000. What if they accept refund? Can they still file a case if they accept refund?
Please reply as soon as possible.
Thank you very much in advance.