Select Page

University of Toledo School of Law
Davis, Benjamin G.

I.             Parol Evidence Rule
a.      CL
i.            Parol evidence will not be admitted to vary, add to, or contradict a written K that constitutes a complete integration.
1.      What is parol evidence?
a.       Prior agreement/term that is either written or oral.
b.      Contemporaneous agreement/term that is oral.
2.      Complete integration
a.       The parties intended the writing to be the final, complete expression of their agreement.
b.      §214 – all evidence is admissible to est. whether the writing is or is not integrated.
ii.            Exception: Partial integration
1.      Parol evidence is not admissible to contradict, but evidence of a consistent additional term may supplement the agreement.
iii.            PER only keeps out prior info., not modifications of an existing agreement.
b.      PER Analysis:
i.            Is the term prior to or contemporaneous w/ the agreement?
1.      If yes, potentially inadmissible per PER (continue).
2.      If no, the term might be a modification, but PER analysis is done.
ii.            Is K a complete integration?
1.      Would term have naturally been included in agreement if agreed upon?
a.       “Four Corners” – look only at the document to discern intent.
i.      If the writing, on its face, is not ambiguous and has no gaps, then it’s complete.
b.      Modern – §214(b) looks at circumstantial evidence in addition to the document to discern intent.
i.      Merger clause (best evidence to prove complete integration)
1.      §210(1) Agreement adopted by the parties as a complete and exclusive statement of the terms of the agreement.
ii.      UT, CD, CP
iii.      Relationship btw the parties
2.      If complete, then PER prohibits oral evidence/term into testimony.
3.      If not complete, does the term contradict the writing?
a.       If yes, term is excluded.
b.      If no, term is admissible.
i.      Maj. – Is either consistent w/ terms in agreement or doesn’t contradict.
ii.      Min. – Must be in reasonable harmony w/ agreement.

ns can’t be retracted.
iii.            Does the term contradict?
1.      If yes, term is inadmissible.
2.      If no, continue.
3.      To determine if a term is contrary look at:
a.       K language. If K is silent, term is usually not contradictory.
b.      Negotiations
c.       CD, CP, UT
iv.            Is the agreement complete? (look for a merger clause, consider intent)
1.      If no, is the term consistent?
a.       yes, term is admissible.
b.      no, term is inadmissible.
2.      If consistent, is the term CP, CD, UT (used to interpret terms that are already in the K)?
a.       no, term is inadmissible.
b.      yes, continue.
3.      Is the term carefully negated? (merger clause is not enough)
a.       no, term is admissible.
b.      yes, term is inadmissible.
v.            What if there’s a potential conflict with the “triplets”?
1.      Express terms and triplets must be construed as consistent w/ each other.
2.      If such construction is unreasonable:
a.       Express terms prevail over CP, CD, UT.
b.      CP prevails over CD, which prevails over UT.