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4.2-12  Parol Evidence Rule

Revised to January 1, 2008

Note: This instruction may be used at the time the parol evidence is introduced during the trial, as well as at the conclusion of the trial.  Use if there is a fully integrated contract, but terms are ambiguous and parol evidence can assist in interpreting those terms without varying or contradicting those terms.

The parties intended that <describe contract> be the complete contract.  Therefore, you may consider the following evidence <insert evidence of earlier understandings> only for the purpose of determining the intent of the parties as to the meaning of <insert ambiguous terms>.  I have found that the meaning of <insert ambiguous terms> is not clear.  You may not consider that evidence of earlier oral or written understandings for the purpose of varying or contradicting the terms of that contract.


Alstom Power, Inc. v. Blacke-Durr, Inc., 269 Conn. 599, 609-10 (2004); HLO Land Ownership Assocs. Ltd. Partnership v. Hartford, 248 Conn. 350, 357-60 (1999); TIE Communications, Inc. v. Kopp, 218 Conn. 281, 288 (1991); Security Equities v. Gimaba, 210 Conn. 71, 78 (1989); Vezina v. Nautilus Pools, Inc., 27 Conn. App. 810, 813-14 (1992).


Before using this instruction, first determine whether there is a complete integrated agreement such that the parol evidence rule applies.  Then determine whether the contract language is ambiguous and if the proposed evidence will not vary or contradict the terms of the contract.  If so, then the instruction may be given.  See Alstom Power, Inc. v. Blacke-Durr, Inc., 269 Conn. 599, 609-10 (2004); HLO Land Ownership Associates Ltd. Partnership v. Hartford, 248 Conn. 350, 360 (1999).

Even if the court determines that the parol evidence rule applies, parol evidence may be used to determine the meaning of terms to a contract as long as it does not vary or contradict those terms.  Ruscito v. F-Dyne Electronics Co., 177 Conn. 149, 160 (1979); Foley v. Hungtington Co., 42 Conn. App. 712, 734 (1996), cert. denied, 239 Conn. 931 (1996).


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