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Questions for Jury

Accord and satisfaction is an affirmative defense and therefore the claimant is duty bound to show that the alleged accord is supported by sufficient consideration.  This can be done either by proving that the claim was unliquidated or disputed.[i]  In the alternative, the claimant may also prove that the claim was liquidated but was supported by consideration additional or collateral to the accord.[ii]

In the case of Premier Capital, Inc. v. Doucette[iii], the court observed that the existence of an accord and satisfaction is a question of fact unless it is evidenced by a clear and unambiguous writing.

Therefore the question of whether an accord and satisfaction has been proved is a question of fact[iv] and is therefore for the jury to decide.[v] However, the issue becomes one of law if the requisite controlling facts are undisputed and clear.[vi]
 
In the case of Owens v. Noble[vii], it was observed by the court that the determination of whether there is a bona fide or genuine dispute as to the amount of a claim for which a partial payment has been offered as an accord and satisfaction is a question for the jury to resolve.

One crucial element for the occurrence of a valid accord and satisfaction is the aspect of meeting of minds.  In the case of M.J. Daly & Sons, Inc. v. City of West Haven, the court observed that to prove an accord and satisfaction, the proponent must show that at the time of the agreement there was a good faith dispute over the existence of a debt.  Moreover, it should also be shown that the debtor and the creditor negotiated a contract of accord to settle the claim.  The proponent must also be able to show that there was a meeting of the minds, that the offer by the debtor was clearly tendered as full satisfaction of the debt, and that the payment was knowingly accepted.  To be a valid accord, there must be a meeting of the minds, and whether a meeting of the minds has occurred is a factual determination. 

 

[i] In re Marriage of Malec, 205 Ill. App. 3d 273, 150 Ill. Dec. 207, 562 N.E.2d 1010 (1st Dist. 1990)

[ii] First Nat. Bank, Lexington, Tenn. v. U.S., 12 Cl. Ct. 719 (1987)

[iii] Premier Capital, Inc. v. Doucette, 2002 ME 83, 797 A.2d 32, 47 U.C.C. Rep. Serv. 2d 1409 (Me. 2002)

[iv] Fassero v. Weinstock & Scavo, P.C., 261 Ga. App. 631, 583 S.E.2d 485 (2003), cert. denied, (Oct. 6, 2003);

[v] Newson v. Protective Industrial Ins. Co. of Alabama, 890 So. 2d 81 (Ala. 2003);

[vi] Pritchett v. Asbestos Claims Management Corp., 332 Ill. App. 3d 890, 266 Ill. Dec. 207, 773 N.E.2d 1277 (5th Dist. 2002)

[vii] Owens v. Noble, 77 Cal. App. 2d 209, 175 P.2d 241 (3d Dist. 1946)


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