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The post below was published on Thursday, February 3rd, 2011 at 8:32 AM.

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Third District: Bad Settlement Binding, Despite Bad Market

A party in this case tried to avoid a settlement agreement because changes in the real estate market allegedly made performance impossible. The trial court agreed, but the Third District reversed. The appellate court explained:

In this case, the decline in the real estate market shortly after the Former Husband signed the marital settlement agreement, while marked and unfortunate, was not the sort of unanticipated circumstance that falls within the purview of the doctrine of impossibility. Economic downturns and other market shifts do not truly constitute unanticipated circumstances in a market-based economy. The assignment of this risk before a final closing of the transaction between the parties was therefore among those for which a reasonably prudent person, represented by counsel, might have provided. A trial court is not authorized to intervene to ameliorate a hardship that a promisor, such as the former husband in this case, could have thus avoided.

The court also observed that, while not ambiguous, the agreement was “not a candidate for a future style manual.”

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