I owed my landlord from a small claims case. I was making payment towards the debt until I lost my business. Recently I contacted her to negotiate the pending debt. She sent me a text responding that it I give her a money order for 75% of the amount that she will go to the court and tell them that I paid the full amount. After I told her that I had the money for her she changed the amount owed and is now asking for an additional $750. What can I do?
A text message is just as legally binding as a letter, and the lion's share of the cases have held that a text message from a known sending phone number is equivalent to a signed letter.
One would have to carefully parse the exchange of communications to see if they amounted to a binding offer and acceptance, but the fact that it was in a text message, rather than on a piece of paper is irrelevant.
Indeed, generally speaking, such an offer and acceptance, if the words exchange show that, could be binding even if made orally, if it could be proved by a preponderance of the evidence.
Procedurally, however, once a judgment has been entered, as is the case here, the process of proving that you have complied with a stipulation regarding what is to constitute payment in full may be challenging. I'll leave the question of civil procedure in Connecticut small claims court to someone more knowledgable about it than I am as that could vary a lot from state to state, or even from court to court based upon local practice within the state.
In return for her agreeing to waive her claim for part of the debt owed, what did you give her?
If you gave her nothing then you do not have a binding contract irrespective of if it is in writing or not. She is perfectly within her rights to say "Give me 75% today and I'll waive the rest" and then, when you pay the 75%, pursue you for the balance because her offer had no consideration on your side. While this may be unethical, it is not illegal.
Alternatively, if in return for the waiving of the debt you agreed to wash her car or walk her dog then you would have a binding contract and the text(s) would be evidence of this. More relevantly, if your agreed payment meant that the landlord got their money (or some of it) earlier than they otherwise would then this would be valuable consideration.