The Second Department, reversing Supreme Court, determined defendant’s motion to compel arbitration in this vehicle-accident case should have been granted. Plaintiff wanted the agreement to arbitrate rescinded because it did not reflect the actual policy limits. But the unilateral mistake by plaintiff’s attorney was not induced by the defendant because defendant’s insurance carrier had twice notified plaintiff’s attorney of the policy limits. The agreement to arbitrate set the award at between $0 and $50,000, but the policy limits were $100,000/300,000:
“Generally, a party’s unilateral mistake is a ground for rescission of a contract only where it was induced by fraud or other wrongful conduct by the other party” … . Moreover, “the equitable remedy of rescission is not available to relieve an allegedly mistaken party of the consequences of their failure to exercise ordinary care” … .
Contrary to the plaintiff’s contention, he failed to establish that the arbitration agreement was subject to the equitable remedy of rescission on the ground of unilateral mistake by his attorney regarding the policy limits … . The purported mistake in the high-low agreement at issue arose not from any fraudulent inducement by the defendant, but from the failure of the plaintiff’s attorney to exercise ordinary care under the circumstances … . Maynard v Smith, 2022 NY Slip Op 04017, Second Dept 6-22-22
Practice Point: A unilateral mistake by one party which was not induced by the other party is not a ground for rescission of a contract.