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Yes! You can take legal action to recover the professional fees due to you. You would need to take the matter to small claims court (assuming the fees due are less than $5000)
the legal theory under which you wil be suing is called "quantum meruit", that is Latin for "what one has earned". Basically under this cause of action absent of evidence as to the agreed upon price the court will determine the cost of services provided based on the prevailing market rate for such services or if you can demonstrate through past invoices the amount you charged in the past for such services. The court may then look at your history and conclude that most likely you would have charged the same amount.
another cause of action is "unjust enrichment". Under this cause of action if one person is unjustly or by chance enriched at the expense of another, then the obligation to make restitution arises, regardless of liability for wrongdoing. In your case regardless of why the employer does not want to pay you, since they benefited from your services they ought to pay.
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Generally yes. Under the theory of unjust enrichment the client cannot ignore the fact that they either authorized you to perform service or knew about the services provided and not said anything. This would mean that they would be unjustly enriched by such "ignorance" and you have a case of action based on that. Under the cause of action of "quantum meruit" the court may determine the value of services you provided based on similar services provided by others or based on your past services that you provided to that client or to other clients.
So to answer your question, a verbal agreement is a valid agreement. BTW, written acknowledgement need not be a formal contract. It can be an email or an SMS. But even if there is nothing in writing the fact that you had dealings and the fact that people just do not provide services for 'free' would give you a reasonable way to claims the causes of actions I noted before.
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