Chouinard v. Chouinard

568 F.2d 430 (1978)

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Chouinard v. Chouinard

United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit
568 F.2d 430 (1978)

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Facts

Fred Chouinard (co-plaintiff) started a company with financial help from his father and brother, Al Chouinard and Ed Chouinard (defendants), respectively. The company ran short of money after Fred entered into a bad business deal and some customers failed to pay their bills. A lending firm offered to refinance the company, but only if Fred could settle Al and Ed's long-standing claims to part ownership in the company. Al and Ed offered to release their claims if Fred and his wife, Ginger Chouinard (co-plaintiff), signed agreements to pay them $190,000, an amount Fred considered excessive. Nevertheless, seeing no alternative, Fred and Ginger signed the agreements and started making installment payments on the agreements. About a year later, Fred and Ginger sued Al and Ed in federal district court, contending that the agreements were void because they had been executed under economic duress. The jury found that Fred and Ginger waived their economic duress claim by voluntarily making installment payments on their agreements. The district court entered judgment for Al and Ed, and Fred and Ginger appealed to the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Thornberry, J.)

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