Farnsworth distinguishes between inculpating mistakes, which another person asserts against the mistaken party to hold the latter liable for some act or decision, (58) and alleviating mistakes, which a mistaken party asserts to avoid liability for some act or decision.
68) Thinking that the fertile cow was barren, the false agent was authorized, and so on, are all alleviating mistakes, which might entitle the mistaken party to relief.
A party may seek relief only for those alleviating mistakes she discovers--not, as Hagi Kenaan has argued, because no mistake exists until someone discovers it; (69) rather, because the mistaken party will have no reason to seek relief from her mistake until she discovers that she made one (p.
Unlike an inculpating mistake, the existence or alleged consequences of which a mistaken party will typically try to deny or rationalize, (80) denying an alleviating mistake is counterproductive.
Except in criminal cases, (84) the mistaken party must prove that he made an alleviating mistake, on the basis of which the other party or a court should relieve him of liability.
76-84), one imagines some degree of dissatisfaction-that courts seem generally unwilling to impose a heavier-than-normal burden of proof on the mistaken party seeking alleviation (p.
Although courts have generally been unwilling to demand more exacting proof of mistake, and scholars are divided on whether courts should, Farnsworth finds that courts have exhibited more of an inclination toward "covert" methods of requiring something more than the legal equivalent of "My bad"--particularly when the mistaken party seeks to have a transaction undone.
First, did the mistaken party's flawed perception cause her to make a faulty decision?
A flawed perception that negates intent relieves the mistaken party of liability and moots the question of causation (p.
How do we tell whether a mistaken party's flawed perception divested him of the requisite action or consequence intent?
15) In other words, the court reasoned that because the existence of the tailings hazard was not recognized by the parties they could not have formed a mutually mistaken belief concerning it and, therefore, no mistake was extant giving rise to a remedy.
20) Thus, the important lesson of this case is that the requirement for an "existing" mistaken fact at formation means that misguided predictions or forecasts about future events, whether explicit or implicit, do not constitute legally recognizable mistakes.
Element 2: The mistaken belief constituted a basic assumption underlying the contract
Element 3: The mistaken belief had a material effect on the bargain
Yet, if one of the parties can show that both of the parties to the contract were mistaken in their belief regarding a fact, that the mistaken belief constituted a basic assumption underlying the contract, the mistake had a material effect on the bargain, and that the contract did not put the risk of the mistake on the party seeking reformation or rescission, then a contractor stands a fair chance of obtaining a remedy.