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Sarvis v. Vermont State Colleges

    Brief Fact Summary.

    Sarvis sued Vermont State College for breach of an employment agreement after the college terminated Sarvis after discovering that Sarvis concealed his criminal history when he submitted his resume for employment.

    Synopsis of Rule of Law.

    A party induced into a contract by fraudulent misrepresentation can rescind the contract and be relieved from reliability under the contractual terms.

    Facts.

    Sarvis served over three years in prison for bank fraud. Sarvis applied to several positions at Vermont State College and claimed that he served as the president and chairman of CMI International Inc. during the time he was in prison. The college hired Sarvis and later terminated him after learning about his criminal history from his probation officer. Sarvis sued for breach of the employment agreement and the College moved for summary judgment. The trial court granted summary judgment to the College.

    Issue.

    Whether a party induced into a contract by fraudulent misrepresentation can rescind the contract and be relieved from reliability under the contractual terms?

    Held.

    Yes. The judgment of the trial court is affirmed. The College is not liable for terminating the employment agreement with Sarvis. Sarvis fraudulently induced the College to enter into employment agreements with him by preventing the College from contacting his previous employers and misrepresenting his work history to hide his criminal history.

    Discussion.

    A party induced into a contract by fraudulent misrepresentation can rescind the contract and be relieved from reliability under the contractual terms. An intentional misrepresentation is fraudulent and a representation that was negligently made must be material in order to qualify as fraudulent.


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