How does someone deal with a contract that is missing details and clarification?

UPDATED: Feb 28, 2011

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How does someone deal with a contract that is missing details and clarification?

I am an author who signed a contract with a small press publisher. The contract was for 1 year. They are now telling me it renews automatically but the contract says renewal must be mutual. Also, there is a clause that states authors owe them money if contract is breached. How can a contract be breached after the agreed 1 year? Are they able to renew without my consent? Or do my rights revert to me regardless of what they verbally state?

Asked on February 28, 2011 under Business Law, Indiana


M.T.G., Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

I am sorry to have to tell you this but you need to bring the agreement to an attorney in your area to review on your behalf.  One has to be able to read the agreement in order to tell you how you need to proceed.  I can tell you some basics though.  A contract is considered something that is agreed upon between parties.  there needs to be mutual agreement and a "meeting of the minds."  The Courts assume that when parties sign agreements all the terms have been discussed and agreed upon.  Outside evidence or oral testimony (known as Parole evidence) is not generally taken in to account when a court goes about interpreting a contract in a lawsuit.  So if your agreement does not state what they are telling you, tell them to get an attorney and you will see them in court.  And you go get one too.  Good luck.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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