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La. Civ. Code Ann. art. 1823 states that: errors may exist as to all the circumstances and facts that relate to a contract, but it is not every error that will invalidate it. To have that effect, the error must be in some point, which is a principal cause for making the contract, and it may be either as to the motive for making the contract, to the person with whom it is made, or to the subject matter of the contract itself. La. Civ. Code Ann. art. 1826 states that: no error in the motive can invalidate a contract, unless the other party is apprised that it is the principal cause of the agreement, or unless from the nature of the transaction it must be presumed that he knew it.
Plaintiff teacher applied to the school, which was a Catholic school, for a teaching position. On the application, the teacher stated that he was a practicing Catholic and that he was married. However, he did not divulge that he had been married in the Catholic church, divorced, and remarried, a situation contrary to the teachings of the Catholic church. The school offered the teacher a contract, but later withdrew the contract when the school learned of the teacher's marital history. The teacher brought a breach of contract action, the trial court rendered judgment in favor of the school, and the teacher sought review.
Under the circumstances, could the school be held liable for breach of contract?
On appeal, the court affirmed the judgment. The court held that the teacher intentionally concealed his marital status in his conversation with a school employee. The court found the teacher's bad faith caused error and that the contract was void ab initio. The court concluded that a false representation of a material fact by the teacher, with knowledge of its falsity, with intent to induce the school authorities to enter into a contract of employment to teach, constituted fraud sufficient to entitle the school authorities to avoid the contract.