Quiz 14: Mistakes, Fraud, and Voluntary Consent

Business

Innocent Misrepresentation: In the case of Eaton v. Waldrop , 45 So.3d 371 (2010) the trial court granted a motion by Waldrop for a judgment as a matter of law, arguing that Eaton had failed to prove that Waldrop had made a representation "with intent to deceive." The appellate court reversed the judgment and remanded the case for further proceedings to the trial court. Eaton argued that the law did not require him to prove an intent to deceive in order to obtain a rescission of a deed based on fraud. Eaton stated that Waldrop knew that his misrepresentation was false when he asserted that he and Eaton's mother were married. Eaton relied on the misrepresentation to his detriment and although there was an intent to deceive Eaton, he was not required as a matter of law to prove the intent. The law talks about an innocent misrepresentation element that meets the standard for intent because even though intent may be absent an innocent misrepresentation provides the opportunity for an aggrieved party to rescind a contract.

Undue Influence: In the case of Juan v. Samuel, a trial court would most likely find in favor of Juan for Samuel's undue influence. Undue influence occurs when parties in a special relationship like Juan, who is totally dependent upon Samuel and deprived of his free will to sell the tract of land in question. This type of agreement is voidable at the option of Juan. Juan fears losing the support of Samuel, so he enters into an agreement that is obviously detrimental to Juan. In this situation, Samuel had a fiduciary duty to Juan that is breached when he demands a concession from Juan in order to continue the duty. Hence, Juan may set the contract aside at his option.

Remedies at Law: In the case of Eaton v. Waldrop , 45 So.3d 371 (2010) the trial court granted a motion by Waldrop for a judgment as a matter of law, arguing that Eaton had failed to prove that Waldrop had made a representation "with intent to deceive." The appellate court reversed the judgment and remanded the case for further proceedings to the trial court. A rescission of a deed based on fraud for innocent misrepresentation provides the opportunity for an aggrieved party to rescind a contract. Rescinding a contract places the parties in the position they were in prior to the contract. That makes the rescission a remedy of law and not damages. Damages are not usually available for innocent misrepresentation. Rescission is an appropriate remedy in this case because it places both parties in their original positions before any misrepresentation was made. If Waldrop can convince Eaton to will the property to him without misrepresenting legal ties to the family, then a legally enforceable transfer of deed may occur.

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