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Val-Ford Realty Corp. v. J.Z.’s Toy World

    Brief Fact Summary. The validity of a lease was at issue.

    Synopsis of Rule of Law. Parol evidence "is admissible to show that a " 'writing, although purporting to be a contract, is, in fact, no contract at all' " "

    Facts. The Plaintiff entered into a written lease with a corporate Defendant.  The lease was guaranteed by the individual Defendant.  Both of the Defendants admit to signing these agreements.  However, they allege that the purpose of the agreements was to "defraud plaintiff's construction lender into advancing additional funds and were never intended by the parties to be enforceable, and that the parties are not strangers in that, among other things, the individual defendant is one of the plaintiff corporation's three directors."

    Issue. Does the parol evidence offered by the Defendants raise issues of credibility?

    Held. Yes.  "While parol evidence is generally inadmissible to contradict, vary, add to, or subtract from the terms of an integrated agreement such as the instant lease and guarantee, it is admissible to show that a " 'writing, although purporting to be a contract, is, in fact, no contract at all' " "

    Discussion. Parol evidence is admissible to demonstrate whether a contract exists in the first place.


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