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Heading off the obvious response; I have already tried multiple search engines. There is so much "noise" from unrelated cases that I can't find what I'm looking for with a simple web search. I'm looking for a case from a U.S. federal appeals court. The case was appealed because the lower court had applied regular contract law and the business was trying to ignore duress in light of a then-new S.C.o.t.U.S. ruling that had to do with how courts would weigh concerns related to enforceability of contracts when those contracts had to do with arbitration. The federal appeals court (I don't remember which circuit) chose to say an assault did create duress, even for an arbitration contract. This case was not later picked up by the U.S. Supreme Court for review.

Here's a way to word this: "Does committing an assault against someone earlier the same day mean they're under duress for contract purposes?"

I've been reading legal blogs and listening to law-related podcasts for a while and I remember a case I now want to go back and look up. I am having trouble finding the actual citation and any documents about the ruling. The case related to an invalidated arbitration agreement. The person suing their employer had been the victim of a physical assault. The employer forced the employee to sign an arbitration agreement right after the assault, and the court ruled that was an invalid contract because the assault allegation showed they were under duress. I'm aware that the current S.C.o.t.U.S. view is that arbitration has weird ideas attached. Ideally I would like the actual case citation that states an assault invalidates arbitration, presumably because of duress expectations in contract law.

  • The title of your question and the body are two different things. Are you wanting somebody to find this case, or are you wanting to know if an assault constitutes duress? – Ron Beyer Jun 5 at 17:42
  • If this is just a matter that any attorney should know out of hand is one way or another please let me know that. I'm aware that the current S.C.o.t.U.S. view is that arbitration has weird ideas attached. Ideally I would like the actual case citation that states an assault invalidates arbitration, presumably because of duress expectations in contract law. – Regional Director Jun 5 at 17:53
  • For future reference, if I have a question like this again, what are some tips I can use that would parse down how I'm asking the question. I'd like to be able to be clear enough that there isn't any confusion, but I usually read Stack Exchange for the story identification threads, and they're often weirdly nebulous. I realize the law may be quite a different field than the arts, and a more technical approach may be appreciated. – Regional Director Jun 5 at 19:03
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Does committing an assault against someone earlier the same day mean they're under duress for contract purposes? I am having trouble finding the actual citation and any documents about the ruling.

The results of this query might help. The lack of detail in your question makes it impossible to further narrow it down from the 52 opinions currently listed. In several those opinions, you will find citations (for example, here) in the sense that

"Like other contracts . . . [arbitration agreements] may be invalidated by `generally applicable contract defenses, such as fraud, duress, or unconscionability.'" Rent-A-Center, W., Inc. v. Jackson, 561 U.S. at 68 (quoting Doctor's Assocs., Inc. v. Casarotto, 517 U.S. 681, 687 (1996))

Assault is very likely to qualify as duress and/or unconscionability that invalidates an agreement.

  • Thank you for trying to assist with this. I have edited my original post to clarify that the special contract provisions that exist for arbitration may be important to consider. I am specifically looking for a U.S. federal appeals case, but I will take any case with a citation that is on topic. – Regional Director Jun 5 at 18:10
  • @RegionalDirector Restricting the above query to Federal Court of Appeals (in the dropdown) lists 5 cases, none of which materially involves assault. It might be a matter of removing some keywords from the search form. However, many of those results contain citations --as in the excerpt I reproduced here-- establishing the unenforceability of contracts or arbitration agreements that are entered under duress. The gap between duress/unconscionability and assault is trivial, and no reasonable or self-respecting judge could pretend otherwise. – Iñaki Viggers Jun 5 at 18:28
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    This comment was more helpful, though the search results from your link are showing far more than five cases (more than a page). I'd still like another user who remembers the case I'm talking about to come along and give a specific case, but if that doesn't happen I understand. This is far, far, better than the nothing I started with. – Regional Director Jun 5 at 19:07
  • @RegionalDirector The link displays 52 cases (as of today). It is by selecting "Federal Court of Appeals" (in the dropdown for "Search By Court") and clciking on Search again how the number of results goes from 52 to 5, like here. – Iñaki Viggers Jun 5 at 19:27

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