Odorizzi v. Bloomfield School Dist.
California District Court of Appeal, 1966.
246 Cal.App2d 123, 54 Cal.Rptr. 533.

Facts:

Odorizzi was a teacher at Bloomfield. After being arrested on criminal charges of homosexual activity, he resigned. When he charges were dismissed, he tried to get his job back and the school denied.

  • He sued, claiming that his resignation was invalid because it was obtained through duress, fraud, mistake, and undue influence (school officials came to his apartment and talked him into resigning) at a time when he lacked the capacity to make a valid contract.

History:

The lower court dismissed the amended complaint.

Issue:

Was Odorizzi’s consent obtained through undue influence?

Holding:

Yes. Case reversed.

Reasoning:

Doctrine of undue influence: A person has the power to void a contract if she entered into it as a result of

(1) unfair persuasion by the other party to the contract; and
(2) (a) she was under the domination of the other party, or(b) she was justified in assuming that the other party would not act in a manner inconsistent with the person’s welfare by virtue of the relation between them.

Characteristics of overpersuasion:

(1) Discussion of the transaction at an unusual place or inappropriate time.

(2) Consummation of the transaction in an unusual place.

(3) Insistent demand that the business be finished at once.

(4) Extreme emphasis on untoward consequences of delay.

(5) Multiple persuaders on the dominant side against a single servient party.

(6) Absence of third-party advisers to the servient party.

(7) Statements that there is no time to consult financial advisors or attorneys.