Defining duress

The business contracts your company enters into with clients in Gainesville ensure you continued access to work and/or resources. Yet a bad contract can also lock you into a seemingly unfair agreement. You might tell yourself that you would never knowingly enter into a bad contract, yet many of those that we here at The Roberts Law Firm, P.C. have worked with once shared the same assertion. However, pressure-filled circumstances often prompted them to enter into such agreements. Could you reasonably be faced with the same sort of duress? 

People often hear the word "duress" and picture a frightened person hastily signing a contract while being watched over by a pair of unsavory individuals holding baseball bats. Yet duress can have many forms. The State of Georgia recognizes imprisonment, threats or any acts "by which the free will of the party is restrained and his consent induced" as qualifying as duress. The reason for this is that the state recognizes that free assent is vital to validate a contract, and that duress or undue influence compromises that. 

While you may never face physical duress in your business dealings, economic duress is another matter entirely. Say that an important business partner threatens that you must consent to its contractual terms. Can such a threat qualify as duress? It depends; if the partner simply threatens to end your professional relationship, then you have option to find another partner. Thus, your free will is not restrained. However, if the partner still owes you a service yet threatens to withhold it if you do not agree to a contract, then the potential of an economic loss could compel you to consent and therefore qualify the threat as duress. 

More information on dealing with contractual partners can be found here on our site. 

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