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Misinterpreted language can lead to contract disputes

In a scene from the classic Marx Brothers movie “A Night at the Opera,” Groucho and Chico go over the details of a contract. As the crazy negotiations reach a conclusion, Chico asks Groucho about the last clause in the contract. Groucho says that the clause nullifies the agreement if one of the parties proves not to be of sound mind. He tells Chico that it is called a sanity clause. Chico then replies, “You can’t fool me, there ain’t no Sanity Claus!”

Clearly, Chico is referring to the man in the red suit. The entire scene in filled with moments of sublime absurdity as the two characters dicker over the details of the agreement. But at its core, the skit is a demonstration of how contract wording can be misinterpreted.

The wording of a contract should make clear the obligations held by the parties involved. Unfortunately, some contracts are so complex that the wording may have varying interpretations. As a result, one party may feel that the other party is not adhering to their agreed promises. Such a situation could lead to accusations of breach of contract.

On the other side, the accused party may very well believe that they have not breached the agreement and are living up to their contractual obligations. When an impasse like this occurs, the contract must be closely examined and strictly interpreted.

Breach of contract disputes can end up being the subject of civil suits. Therefore, prior to going into a courtroom, it is very important to understand how a court will interpret the wording and terms of the contract in question.

If you are either accused of breaching a contract or believe another party is failing to comply with agreed upon terms, you might want to contact an attorney who understands how to discern the language of an agreement. A contract litigation lawyer may be able to offer the clarification necessary for you to successfully pursue your objectives. Please feel free to read up on this firm’s approach to contract litigation here.