Undue Influence (West's Encyclopedia of American Law)
A judicially created defense to transactions that have been imposed upon weak and vulnerable persons that allows the transactions to be set aside.
Virtually any act of persuasion that over-comes the free will and judgment of another, including exhortations, importunings, insinuations, flattery, trickery, and deception, may amount to undue influence. Undue influence differs from duress, which consists of the intentional use of force, or threat of force, to coerce another into a grossly unfair transaction. Blackmail, EXTORTION, bad faith threats of criminal prosecution, and oppressive ABUSE OF PROCESS are classic examples of duress.
Four elements must be shown to establish undue influence. First, it must be demonstrated that the victim was susceptible to overreaching. Such conditions as mental, psychological, or physical disability or dependency may be used to show susceptibility. Second, there must be an opportunity for exercising undue influence. Typically, this opportunity arises through a confidential relationship. Courts have found opportunity for undue influence in confidential relationships between HUSBAND AND WIFE, fiancé and fiancée, PARENT AND CHILD, trustee and beneficiary, administrator and legatee, GUARDIAN AND WARD, attorney and client, doctor and patient, and pastor and parishioner. Third, there must be evidence that the defendant was inclined to exercise...
(The entire section is 407 words.)
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