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Ohio Supreme Court rules brochure not part of written contract

The Ohio Supreme Court recently addressed a business litigation question of, 'Can an informational brochure be considered part of a written contract?" The case involved a man with a degree from a Syrian medical school. In order to obtain a medical residency in Ohio, foreign-educated doctors must pass a test administered by the Educational Commission for Foreign Medical Graduates. The foreign doctor received a brochure from the commission that described the test as 'consisting of four, three-hour test books." The doctor took and failed the exam in 1993. In 2008, the man claimed that he was not allowed the full time for the test as described in the pamphlet. A six-year statute of limitations governs oral contracts and in 2008, the man would not have had a case if the contract had been oral.

The man took the position, however, that the contract he had with the commission was a written contract subject to a 15-year statute of limitations. He contended that the brochure, coupled with his application to take the exam, constituted a written contract and, he was within the timeframe allowed for filing against the commission. In the seven-to-zero vote, the judges ruled the brochure did not constitute a contract because it did not contain a promise of mutually agreed-to terms.

Business in the United States depends heavily on agreements between two or more parties. To make sure there is understanding among all the parties, a written contract documents the terms of the agreement that is then signed by all parties. Even when there is a written contract in place, business disputes occur based on interpretation and non-execution of contract terms.

When a contract dispute arises among parties, the services of attorneys trained in business and corporate law may help resolve the dispute. If the dispute is not resolved outside the courtroom, these attorneys may represent the parties in the court process.

Source: Akron Legal News, "VIEWPOINT: Contract or brochure?", PAUL E. PFEIFER, June 18, 2013

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