Friday, September 9, 2011

Fraud Vitiates Everything It Touches

On July 29, the Fort Worth Business Press published an article I wrote titled "Texas Supreme Court Ruling May Surprise Landlords," which is available here.

The article discusses a very interesting recent Texas Supreme Court case in which a tenant sued a landlord for failure to disclose the existence of "ungodly" sewer gasses at the space the tenant had planned to use as a restaurant.  In fact, the landlord's representative said that the location was "perfect" for a restaurant.  The lease was silent as to the existence of smells at the property, and the lease provided that the landlord made no representation or warranties outside of the lease.  Nonetheless, the court ruled that the landlord's misrepresentations prior to the execution of the lease amounted to fraud and that "fraud vitiates everything it touches" - including contrary provisions in the lease itself.

This is an important cases for parties conducting business in Texas because it reminds us that Texas courts may not enforce contracts tainted by fraud or other misrepresentation even if the misrepresentation occurs outside of the contract itself.

Thanks to the Fort Worth Business Press for publishing the article.

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