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No agreement is enforceable if the parties did not enter into it (1) of their own free will, (2) with adequate knowledge of the terms, and (3) with the mental capacity to appreciate the relationship.
Contracts coerced through duress will void a contract if actually induced through physical harm and will make the contract voidable if entered under the compulsion of many types of threats. The threat must be improper and leave no reasonable alternative, but the test is subjective—that is, what did the person threatened actually fear, not what a more reasonable person might have feared.
Misrepresentations may render an agreement void or voidable. Among the factors to be considered are whether the misrepresentation was deliberate and material; whether the promisee relied on the misrepresentation in good faith; whether the representation was of fact, opinion, or intention; and whether the parties had a special relationship.
Similarly, mistaken beliefs, not induced by misrepresentations, may suffice to avoid the bargain. Some mistakes on one side only make a contract voidable. More often, mutual mistakes of facts will show that there was no meeting of the minds.
Those who lack capacity are often entitled to avoid contract liability. Although it is possible to state the general rule, many exceptions exist—for example, in contracts for necessities, infants will be liable for the reasonable value of the goods purchased.
Mutschler Grain Company (later Jamestown Farmers Elevator) agreed to sell General Mills 30,000 bushels of barley at $1.22 per bushel. A dispute arose: Mutschler said that transportation was to be by truck but that General Mills never ordered any trucks to pick up the grain; General Mills said the grain was to be shipped by rail (railcars were in short supply). Nine months later, after Mutschler had delivered only about one-tenth the contracted amount, the price of barley was over $3.00 per bushel. Mutschler defaulted on, and then repudiated, the contract. Fred Mutschler then received this telephone call from General Mills: “We’re General Mills, and if you don’t deliver this grain to us, why we’ll have a battery of lawyers in there tomorrow morning to visit you, and then we are going to the North Dakota Public Service (Commission); we’re going to the Minneapolis Grain Exchange and we’re going to the people in Montana and there will be no more Mutschler Grain Company. We’re going to take your license.”
Mutchsler then shipped 22,000 bushels of barley at the $1.22 rate and sued General Mills for the difference between that price and the market price of over $3.00. Summary judgment issued for General Mills. Upon what basis might Mutschler Grain appeal?
Misrepresentation that does not go to the core of a contract is
In order for a misrepresentation to make a contract voidable,
A mistake by one party will not invalidate a contract unless
Upon reaching the age of majority, a person who entered into a contract to purchase goods while a minor may
Seller does not disclose to Buyer that the foundation of a house is infested with termites. Upon purchasing the house and remodeling part of the basement, Buyer discovers the termites. Has Buyer a cause of action against Seller?