Practice point: Mutual mistake may furnish the basis for the reformation of a written agreement where the signed writing does not express the actual agreement of the parties. Parol evidence is admissible to establish the actual agreement. However, there is a heavy presumption that the executed agreement reflects the true intention of the parties, and a correspondingly high order of evidence is required to overcome the presumption.
Student note: Thus, where a written agreement between sophisticated,
counseled businesspersons is unambiguous
on its face, one party cannot defeat summary judgment by a conclusory assertion
that, owing to mutual mistake or fraud, the writing did not express his or her
own understanding of the oral agreement reached during negotiations.
Case: West Vernon Petroleum Corp. v. Singer Holding Corp., NY Slip Op 0073d Dept. 2013).
Here is the decision.
Tomorrow’s issue: Hit by intoxicated bar patron.