If you sign a contract, and the person asking you to sign explains nothing, but there is a part you totally miss (Maybe it's in a tiny font at the bottom of a page, or hidden somewhere.), you sign the contract, and that hidden part is held against you, can you sue the person who wrote it for misleading you? Or is it totally your responsibility to read the whole thing thoroughly?

  • What you mean "hidden"? – Greendrake Jan 9 '18 at 6:46

As a general rule you are bound by all terms of a contract, even those that you do not read. I can imagine a case where the print is sufficiently fine or hidden to not be considered part of the contract - indeed, some statutes expressly require certain kinds of language in certain kinds of contracts to be in "conspicuous" print to be enforceable and define that term, and if the relevant language (even if readable) is not in the proper typeface or size as defined in the statute, it cannot be enforced.

Generally speaking, you would not have a valid cause of action to sue someone who presented you with the contract for misleading you as a fraud tort, but one could imagine some fact pattern where that was true (e.g. if the person presenting you with the contract to sign specifically held it in such a way is to actually prevent you from reading the language in question, knowing that this would conceal an important term from you that might have been different, for example, from the term that was discussed during the course of contract negotiations and that you would rely on the lack of an ability to see that term to their detriment). This kind of fraud, when it happens, is called "fraud in factum".

Fraud in factum would very rarely arise in a contract of adhesion. Normally, it would arise in a contract drafted for an individual transaction.

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