Page 45 - S35.Summer 2019
P. 45

exceptions to verbal contracts in Connecticut.
When a contract contains the required elements and no exclusion applies, this does not necessarily guarantee that the agreement can be enforced. There are many legal defenses to a breach of contract claim. Most of these defenses exist to help protect parties during exchanges involving a misunderstanding, mistake, misrepresentation, duress, fraud, or some other concern.
For starters, mutual assent must exist between contracting parties. This is often referred to as a “meeting of the minds.” Without mutual assent, a contract is unenforceable. An agreement that contains a material mistake that is unreflective of the intent of a contracting party will not be binding.
Each contracting party must also possess the mental
and legal capacity to enter into a legal agreement. For instance, minors cannot be bound by most agreements since they lack the legal capacity to enter into a contract. People with intellectual disabilities, and those who have mental illness, may also be deemed incapable of being bound to an agreement. A contract may also be unenforceable if it can be shown that a party to the contract was induced through duress, fraud, misrepresentation, undue influence, or nondisclosure.
Certain legal doctrines and public policy concerns also help to address whether a contract should be enforced. When an agreement is found to be shockingly one-sided, or incredibly unfair to one or more parties, the relevant parts of the contract—or the contract in its entirety — may be voided under a legal principle called the doctrine of unconscionability. When a contract promotes illegal activity, or when the performance of a contract will

   43   44   45   46   47