Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Cousineau v. Walker case brief

Cousineau v. Walker case brief summary
613 P.2d 608 (1980)

Appellant buyers sought review of an order from the Superior Court of the State of Alaska, Third Judicial District, which found for appellee sellers. The court held that the buyers were not entitled to rescission of a land sale contract because of seller's false statements, the buyers did not rely on sellers' misrepresentations, the misrepresentations were not material to the transaction, and the reliance by the buyers was not justified.

After closing the sale, the buyers discovered a shortage in the highway frontage and not as much gravel on the property as had been indicated by the sellers.


  • The court held that an innocent misrepresentation could be the basis for rescinding a contract. 
  • The court found it was relevant whether the buyer relied on the statements, whether the statements were material to the transaction, and whether their reliance was justified. 
  • The court held that the buyer could rely on material representations made by the seller and was not obligated to ascertain whether the representations were truthful. 
  • The court held that the trial court erred in finding that the buyers did not rely on the sellers' statement that there was gravel on the property. 
  • The court found that the statements regarding highway frontage and gravel content were material. 
  • The existence of gravel deposits was an important consideration by a reasonable person in developing a piece of property.

The decision was reversed and remanded.

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