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Mutual Mistake or Unilateral Mistake in Contract

Mistakes unfortunately happen when it comes to written agreements.  When they do, a party to a written agreement may try to reform the agreement or rescind the agreement due to the mistake.  Reforming or rescinding a written agreement based on a mistake is NOT as easy as it may sound simply because a party claims there was a mistake in the process.  There are two types of mistakes that could support a basis to reform or rescind a contract: mutual mistake and unilateral mistake.  Typically, both mistakes require a party to prove the mistake and satisfy their burden of proof justifying...

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Inducement is NOT a Required Element in Proving the Defense of Unilateral Mistake

Earlier this year I wrote an article regarding proving the defense of unilateral mistake.  In that article, I discussed a case where the appellate court ruled a party asserting the defense of unilateral mistake must prove that the mistake was induced by the party seeking to benefit from the mistake.  Based on this opinion, a party moved for a rehearing en bank under Florida Rule of Appellate Procedure 9.331--see applicable portion of 9.331(d)(1)--arguing that in some prior opinions the appellate court required a party asserting unilateral mistake to prove inducement, and in other decisions it did not.  The appellate court granted...

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Proving Defense of Unilateral Mistake

One affirmative defense to a breach of contract claim is the defense known as “unilateral mistake.” This is not an easy defense to prove and the party asserting this as a defense has the burden to prove it. Under this defense, the argument is that the contract cannot be enforced because there was a unilateral mistake that induced the party into entering into the contract. To prove the affirmative defense of unilateral mistake, the party asserting this defense must prove the following four elements: “(1) [T]he mistake was induced by the party seeking to benefit from the mistake, (2) there is no...

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