Quiz 12: Genuineness of Assent and Statute of Frauds


Unilateral mistakes are when one party is mistaken regarding some details that comprises of the major matter of the contract. As in this case S wanted the property for some specific purpose he had even made some enquiries regarding the property but the other party was not aware before selling the property what S had in mind. One case in which the cancellation could have taken place is when S would have been mistaken and the other party who was selling the property would have been aware regarding the mistake. Therefore in this case the contract could not have been cancelled.

Undue influence: It refers to a situation in which one of the parties to contract takes an undue advantage of physical or mental weakness of the other party. Independent judgment of another party is deprived by the party with superior power, for the benefit of superior party. In simple words, the free will of the aggrieved party is taken over by the force of the other party. Facts: Person CS is an 80 year old man; he owns an 80 acres farm land and have eight sons and five daughters. CS's eldest son L suggested to serve his father and moved close to his father. He convinced his father to sell the land to him for $23,500, when the fair market value of the firm was around $150,000. CS suffered from many health problems and L used to assist him in his real life. When L died, the conservators of the estate filed a suit for cancellation of the deed of conveyance. Outcome: In this case, the conservators can cancel the contract because the contract agreement between L and CS is due to undue influence exerted by L and not of free will. Since CS was a patient and was suffering from many ailments such as diabetes, heart problems and breathing problems. Thus, CS depended on his son L for support in carrying out his tasks. L took advantage of the mental and physical state of his father and persuaded him to convey the land for a low price. Hence, the deed was made under undue influence and the conservators can cancel the contract.

This is a case of Duress. Duress is when one party uses the method of threatening so that the other party can be compelled to enter into a contract. The assent is not believed to be voluntary if a party has been forced to enter the contract. In such a situation the contract is not believed to be enforceable against the will of the innocent party. In the present case Chevrolet's husband forced her to sign the separation agreement by telling her that he would not provide her with her clothes, she would not be allowed to see her children again and that he would even get her for abandonment. Due to her husband's threats Chevrolet was forced to sign the agreement even though she did not want to sign it. Chevrolet was made to sign the agreement unwillingly and as per the law the unwilling person, need not enforce the contract. Therefore Chevrolet is allowed not to enforce the agreement if she doesn't want to.

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