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Chouinard v. Chouinard

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Parties: Al Chouinard and son Ed Chouinard are defendants. Al’s other son Fred Chouinard is the plaintiff.

Facts: Plaintiff was president of Arc Corp., and apparently ran the business. The ownership of the family business was never settled between the three. At one point, the company was in dire need of financing but the bank said that they wouldn't loan money until the ownership of the company was decided. Fred agreed to pay $95,000 (mostly in promissory notes) to each of the others for ownership.

Proc. Hist.: Fred brought suit to set the promissory notes aside. The lower court held for Defendants.

Issue: Was Ed and Al's conduct in selling their shares for $95,000 wrongful?

Holding: There was no attempt on Ed and Al's part to wrongfully take advantage of the situation.

Reasons: Mere hard bargaining positions and financial circumstances, not caused by the party against whom the contract is sought to be voided, isn't deemed duress.