Interpretation & Parol Evidence

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Interpretation & Parol Evidence

Postby b32 » Wed Dec 08, 2010 10:49 pm

Hey Guys,

I just wanted to run this by to people to make sure I'm understanding Interpretation and Parol Evidence correctly. If you guys could give me some feedback I'd really appreciate it!

1) If a term is vague or ambiguous, individuals can use parol evidence (if its in writing) to bring evidence in to explain or supplement their contract if it is partially integrated.

2) Court's can look to the traditional approach and only look at four corners of the document OR for the modern approach, they can bring it extrinsic evidence under the exceptions for parol evidence.

Am I understanding this correctly?


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Joined: Mon Feb 08, 2010 4:16 am

Re: Interpretation & Parol Evidence

Postby ogurty » Wed Dec 08, 2010 11:36 pm

If the agreement isn't integrated, usually all parol evidence is admitted; but the terms of the writing will be paramount under principles of interpretation. If it's integrated, but ambiguous (in some jurisdictions even if it's unambiguous but parol creates ambiguity) then again usually all parol evidence that speaks to the ambiguity is admitted. Even if it's unambiguous, contemporaneous writings can be admitted if they don't contradict the terms. Under the UCC, course of performance, usage of trade, and course of dealing are admittable always too (unless super-integrated).

Granted my prof taught parol evidence with some contempt and he thinks its a dying rule - the overarching rule of parol, as we were taught it, is the judge will always LOOK at the parol evidence, and it's rare in any jurisdiction for any parol the judge thinks is credible to be excluded.

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