By: Charles B. Jimerson, Esq.
Most bank lending documents (and commercial contracts for that matter) contain a merger clause, which explicitly states that the agreement itself embodies the entire understanding nd agreement between the parties and further supersedes any and all prior agreements, promises, negotiations, representations, understandings, or inducements, whether express or implied, oral or written, regarding the terms of the agreement between the parties. Therefore, by the express contractual terms of the parties, the integrated agreement itself, subject to limited exceptions, will embody the entire agreement between the parties. The effect of this clause is to bar parties from reaching outside the confines of the written agreement to impose additional contractual duties upon the other party. This often becomes an issue when a claim or defense of fraudulent inducement is asserted in attempt to vitiate an integrated document. This blog post will endeavor to analyze the interplay of a fraud in the inducement defense/claim with a merger clause.