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Hollywood and Oscar nominated star Terrence Howard cried in court about his wife’s threats to release his private medical information. During acrimonious divorce proceedings, Howard was contacted by his wife and allegedly forced to sign a divorce settlement agreement under duress. His wife had informed that that if he refused to comply with her mediation settlement requests, that she would release private medical information about him.

While mediation and settlement are encouraged by the justice system, using blackmail to force execution of a settlement agreement will not likely be tolerated. Parties should be able to demonstrate that they had the opportunity to obtain independent legal advice before signing a settlement agreement.

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Take away:

  • A settlement agreement signed under duress can be nullified if a party can prove duress.

 

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