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Philosophy 2080
James Hildebrand

Lecture 4 – Contracts II: Mistake, Misrepresentation and Duress 5 factors to determine legality of contract: 1) Consensus 2) Legality 3) Capacity 4) Consideration 5) Intent Arguments that result in no contract even though it appears there is: 1) Mistake  Legal definition; much narrower than the dictionary definition  Example: shared mistake:  When both parties are mistaken by the existence of the subject matter at no fault of their own, there is no contract  Example: mistaken about the term of the contract:  I send an email offering to buy 1000 computers for $1 million and the person accepts. CONTRACT.  However, when the email was sent the person thought he was buying 1000 PCs and the other thought he was selling 1000 Macs. Therefore, NO CONTRACT.  Both are mistaken about the essential terms – lack of consensus  Example: Suppose I learn of the mistake  It is beneficial to me (take advantage of the other’s carelessness). NO CONTRACT.  Can’t take advantage of someone else’s carelessness  In the examples above they will look at dictionary definition, past transactions between the two, and then go to industry analysis. Courts will go through everything possible to uphold the reasonable expectations of the parties. If, however, they can’t determine it and the parties are mistaken with no fault of their own, then there is no consensus.  If a written document contains of typical or clerical error, the contract will be rectified by the court  Be as specific as you can when entering into an agreement; don’t want terms to be vague (this increases the likelihood the contract will be void)  What if I enter into a contract to buy a bunch of computers from you, but really I’m entering into a contract with somebody else? Mistake if the person’s identity was an essential term of the contract 2) Misrepresentation  Involved someone saying something that isn’t true  If it was not a term of the contract – only recision  If it was a term of the contract – recision o
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