Brief Fact Summary. The Plaintiff, Horace Rubenstein (Plaintiff), brought suit against the Defendant, Natalie Rubenstein (Defendant) his wife, seeking rescission due to duress, of a contract whereby he conveyed all of his property to his wife.
Synopsis of Rule of Law. A contract is voidable under duress when the party can show (1) fear of loss of life; (2) fear of loss of limb; (3) fear of great danger; or (4) fear of imprisonment.
The act or conduct complained of need not be unlawful in the technical sense of the term; it suffices if it is wrongful in the sense that it is so oppressive under given circumstances as to constrain one to do what his free will would refuse.View Full Point of Law
Issue. The issue of this case is whether spousal duress can serve to void a contract of conveyance.
Held. Reversed and Remanded.
The course found that there was a prima facie case of duress, regardless of any liabilities the Plaintiff would be giving up and as such, the Defendant should be allowed to present her case so that a fair determination of the facts could be made.
Discussion. When dealing with cases of duress, remember that not all pressure is wrongful. Only if it meets the level of fear that is invoked by duress should it be actionable.