Cain v. Saunders

813 So. 2d 891 (2001)

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Cain v. Saunders

Alabama Court of Civil Appeals
813 So. 2d 891 (2001)

Facts

J. M. Cain, Jr. (plaintiff) had debts that Charles Saunders (defendant) agreed to guarantee and had a dispute relating to those debts that resulted in mediation. At the conclusion of mediation, the parties executed a settlement agreement that stated that Saunders would transfer ownership of two life-insurance policies, worth $19,022 and $12,000, to Cain. Subsequently, the parties learned that the life-insurance policies’ combined cash value was less than $10,000. For that reason, Cain refused to perform in accordance with the settlement agreement, and Saunders filed a motion for summary judgment. At the hearing, Cain sought to introduce parol evidence regarding his and Saunders’s understandings of the values of the policies at the time of mediation. Saunders objected, arguing that because the settlement agreement was unambiguous, the parol evidence Cain attempted to introduce was inadmissible. The trial court agreed, finding that the settlement agreement was not ambiguous, and entered a judgment enforcing it. Cain appealed, contending that the settlement agreement should be set aside due to a lack of meeting of the minds and mutual mistake as to the value of the life-insurance policies.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Thompson, J.)

Dissent (Murdock, J.)

Dissent (Yates, J.)

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