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Foundational Principles of Contract Law$
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Melvin A. Eisenberg

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9780199731404

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2018

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780199731404.001.0001

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(p.577) Forty-Two Mistranscriptions
Foundational Principles of Contract Law

Melvin A. Eisenberg

Oxford University Press

Chapter 42 concerns mistranscriptions. In a mistranscription case A and B enter into an oral contract and agree that A will transcribe the agreement into writing. Due to A’s negligence the writing mistranscribes the parties’ contract. Both parties then sign the writing, mistakenly believing that it accurately reflects the contract. Mistranscriptions are a special case of mechanical errors: A intends the writing to incorporate the contract, but by virtue of a mechanical error it does not. Mistranscription cases are fairly easy to deal with. The principle that should govern mistranscriptions is the same as the principle that should govern other mechanical errors—a mistranscription should provide a basis for relief to the adversely affected party—specifically, reformation of the writing to make it conform to the oral contract.

Keywords:   mistranscriptions, mechanical errors, reformation, oral contract, conform

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