Legal Muse

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Screaming Obscenities

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So, over the past 2 days, I’ve been attempting to keep my mouth shut in class about the parol evidence rule. The idea behind it is that you don’t allow outside evidence regarding the terms of a contract when the contract has been written in clear, precise terms. You do allow it in some situations such as if there are ambiguities in the contractual terms, etc.  This is largely to protect the enforceability of the contract – outside evidence alters the view of the contract from the cut and dry plain meaning of the words to interpretation based on testimony, etc.

At some point, we began discussing the evolution of the law, and how more and more parol evidence is eventually making it into cases through the liberalization of the interpretation process. Some legal scholars are thinking that all evidence should be allowed in, and then let the jury sift through it.

That was first brought up yesterday, I was tired, cranky, and just – unhappy. I managed to abstain from saying anything stupid.

Today, the professor brought it up again, and I was unable to refrain from a sneer and an eye-roll. As fate would have it, my professor saw my reaction, and asked for my thoughts.

This is how it happened:

“Mr. O’Hara, you seem to have an opinion of dismissing the parol evidence rule”

*I put my hands up in the air in a concilliatory manner*

“Ma’am, I don’t want to say anything inflammatory”

“Oh, come on, Mr. O’Hara, law school is the time to have strong, outrageous beliefs!” – At this point in the semester, she knows she can count on me for something entertaining, because I rarely tow the new age-liberal interpretations of the law.

*I sigh in defeat*

“Alright, well, I just don’t think that giving the jury too much to work with is smart. It took me 5 weeks to figure out the difference of ‘meeting of the minds’ versus ‘manifestation of intent’, and how to apply it. Do you really think the juries going to be able to? They’re going to sympathize with a sob story, and the fact that every term and condition was spelled out with precision in the contract will have no weight. Why even have a contract in the first place then, when there can be no reliance that the terms will be upheld in court??”

*Class kind of goes silent for a little while, as they mull over the fact that I just called juries stupid/incompetent

*Professor looks at me with an amused expression, says I have a good point, and moves on to the next person.

What’s funny is that once I broke the dam, all of a sudden a bunch of people thought it would make sense to have stricter rules as to what was admissible, and I think one person actually explicitly said that juries were stupid. Law school ain’t so bad!

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Written by DMN

October 28, 2008 at 10:39 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

Tagged with ,

2 Responses

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  1. I’m cranky too.

    I’m glad the law school stuff is a great fit for you, btw- but I have no idea how you do it.

    Melissa

    October 31, 2008 at 10:36 am

  2. I had several anecdotes about jury duty, both from my personal experience, and from my family’s, and I was going to share them. Instead, I’ve decided to sum up all the stories in one sentence: People are a problem.

    Dave

    November 2, 2008 at 8:14 pm


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