Can there be a jury trial on mutual mistake?

Johnson & Johnson v. Connor & Connor (Published): The Johnsons intended to reserve the minerals in 40 acres they were selling.  Two years after they deeded the property over to the Connors, the Johnsons discovered that the Connors had leased the minerals and were getting payments.   

Turns out the deed conveyed all of the Johnson’s interest to the Connors. The Johnsons sued for reformation of the deed.  They claimed that the deed didn’t match the contract.  But the contract wasn’t much help either. By its plain language, it said that there were no minerals to be conveyed. (When I say plain language, I mean that the Tyler court pulled out the American Heritage Dictionary.)

So the Johnsons said that neither the contract nor the deed matched the parties’ intent.  The real estate agent backed them up.  She gave an affidavit to the effect that she, the Johnsons and the Connors all had a clear oral understanding that the minerals were being reserved.

No matter.  The Connors presented affidavits saying there were no discussions about the minerals.  The Tyler court finds that there is no fact issue on the subject of mutual mistake. “The Connors were entitled to assume under the contract that they would be receiving all of the estate that the Johnsons owned.”

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