David S. Tupler, P.A. DAVID S. TUPLER, P.A.
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Can a contract be voided?

September 6, 2017

If two (ore more) parties sign a written agreement, learning that it’s voidable may be jarring. However, in Broward County and elsewhere in Florida, it can happen. Contract dispute attorney David S. Tupler, P.A. offers the following as possible grounds for nullification of a signed contract in Fort Lauderdale and Hollywood:

Cooling-off Period

Even after signing on the dotted line, both parties involved in a contract may still be entitled to have three days to consider canceling it in full or have certain goods and/or services removed on the agreement if over $25. Also, sold goods and/or service deals made during a home solicitation sale also get a three-day grace period to cancel. If the signed documents are not clear on the exact process to follow to cancel, consult a lawyer. Similar to warranty periods, if the contract cancellation is not submitted in the exact manner mentioned in the executed documents, legally, the disputing party may make it non-voidable.

Illegal Agreement

Illegal drugs and crime are obvious examples of why a contract would be voidable. However, petty crimes also may come into play. For example, if a bootleg movie seller is contracted and paid to acquire a certain film or a clear quality film, the buyer cannot take the bootleg seller to court for a poor quality film. The buyer also cannot legally fight in court if the seller doesn’t acquire the film at all. In the U.S., software piracy could lead to statutory damages of anywhere from $100,000 to $250,000, a felony charge and/or a five-year prison sentence. These charges include social piracy, counterfeit piracy and online piracy as well.

Mental Capacity

A contract law attorney and possibly law enforcement may be needed to prove an agreement is voidable in the case of mental capacity. It is altogether different for someone to sign an agreement without knowing what some legal terms mean versus being inebriated. For example, a marriage can be annulled if one or both parties is bullied into signing after a fraudulent act or misrepresentation, either party is drunk (from alcohol) or on Schedule I-level drugs , one of the parties is a minor, not honest about impotency, or the marriage is a joke. Contracts work much the same way.

Minors

In Florida, almost all legal rights (including jury duty and being sued in court) can happen at the age of 18 or older. If a contract is created that includes minors, there must be someone of adult age who can agree to the terms for goods and services. Should the minor still choose to opt out of the agreement, that minor cannot be punished in a court of law. For example, if a child actor decides to not participate in a film, his guardian may be held accountable for potential fees but this would not be something that could trickle down to the minor’s credit report.

Missed Deadline

If either party is concerned about when to file a contract lawsuit, seeking legal counsel may help answer that question. The time to file a lawsuit can range from anywhere to a year to five years. If a company does not correctly file within the legal time frame, the opposing party’s lawsuit may be dismissed and the agreement could be voidable. However, if one party chooses arbitration, that eliminates the right to a dispute by judge or jury.

Real Estate

Although there are some oral agreements that can be honored in Broward County court, real estate contracts are not among them. According to the Florida Bar, the sale of real estate cannot be completed if it is not in writing within one year’s time-frame, so time is of the essence. Consult with a Hollywood or Fort Lauderdale contract lawyer immediately after a discrepancy arises for the best chance of prevailing in court.