Can someone please explain the difference between undue influence and duress?

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LawSchoolGeeky

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Can someone please explain the difference between undue influence and duress?

Postby LawSchoolGeeky » Sun Feb 25, 2018 7:47 pm

I'm having trouble differentiating the difference between undue influence and duress. I understand some point to the distinction that duress involves a specific threat whereas undue influence does not and instead focuses on persuasion via a relationship or relationship of dominance... However, in the case where the superintendent of the school was held to have exerted undue influence over the schoolteacher who was criminalized for "homosexual conduct" couldn't you also characterize it as duress? The superintendent threatened to make public proceedings against the teacher which would lead to "extreme embarrassment," which led the teacher to feel he had no other alternative but to sign the resignation, and actually be induced to sign... This is why I'm really having trouble distinguishing...

estefanchanning

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Re: Can someone please explain the difference between undue influence and duress?

Postby estefanchanning » Mon Feb 26, 2018 11:39 am

Sure, you can argue duress. But undue influence fits more because the superintendent holds a position of power.

LawSchoolGeeky

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Re: Can someone please explain the difference between undue influence and duress?

Postby LawSchoolGeeky » Mon Feb 26, 2018 10:27 pm

Right but my question is why the court dismissed the duress claim when it validly could have gone to a jury.... and also what the difference between the defenses are just from a substantive perspective. Is the main difference that duress requires a threat and undue influence requires dominant position/close relationship?

L_William_W

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Re: Can someone please explain the difference between undue influence and duress?

Postby L_William_W » Wed Mar 14, 2018 1:24 pm

LawSchoolGeeky wrote:Right but my question is why the court dismissed the duress claim when it validly could have gone to a jury.... and also what the difference between the defenses are just from a substantive perspective. Is the main difference that duress requires a threat and undue influence requires dominant position/close relationship?


Correct. Duress means using threats to induce a specific action. Undue influence is taking advantage of someone based on their close relationship (i.e. a grandchild stealing money from a grandparent's bank account).

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RCSOB657

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Re: Can someone please explain the difference between undue influence and duress?

Postby RCSOB657 » Thu Mar 15, 2018 3:25 am

LawSchoolGeeky wrote:I'm having trouble differentiating the difference between undue influence and duress. I understand some point to the distinction that duress involves a specific threat whereas undue influence does not and instead focuses on persuasion via a relationship or relationship of dominance... However, in the case where the superintendent of the school was held to have exerted undue influence over the schoolteacher who was criminalized for "homosexual conduct" couldn't you also characterize it as duress? The superintendent threatened to make public proceedings against the teacher which would lead to "extreme embarrassment," which led the teacher to feel he had no other alternative but to sign the resignation, and actually be induced to sign... This is why I'm really having trouble distinguishing...


Duress has a timing element and would lead to a closer look at the actual parties as far as relative power, education, ability to think clearly, etc. It's easier to prove if say, the SI gave the guy 5 minutes to decide versus if the guy had time to consult others.

If you're looking at a case, realize it does not necessarily always go through all possible claims. The authors of text books try to find exemplars for whatever topic the section is covering. Sometimes cases will be there to get you to question the outcome. All about that socratic method.

LovingLS

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Re: Can someone please explain the difference between undue influence and duress?

Postby LovingLS » Mon Mar 26, 2018 6:20 pm

Sorry if I'm late. My contracts prof last semester stated expressly that duress cannot be something that the other party has a legal right to assert. Unless there is a sense of illegality in the "threat", it is not "duress." So, threatening to expose someone's sexuality to the public in some way (in this case via the courts) is not illegal and therefore not duress which is why it was tried under "undue influence."



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