Dear Dr Boli: I would like to request your opinion regarding an agreement that was ventured into over 12 months ago. In order to settle a dispute regarding certain business matters, signed contracts were exchanged that contained several restrictive clauses in relation to practices of trade.
The question I would like to present you with is that if the restrictive clauses were not bounded by date parameters, does this mean the clauses are in effect for eternity?
Prior to writing, I obtained another opinion from a person well versed in such matters. The advice given was the in the normal functioning of such restrictive clauses and if no date parameters are given, the default period for such clauses is the period of 12 months from the signing of the agreement.
Thank you in advance for any assistance that is rendered. —Sincerely, Daryl Griffiths.
Dear Sir: Dr. Boli is sorry to report that no single answer will apply in all cases. In English common law, the term of such clauses, when not otherwise specified, was assumed to be till the conversion of the Jews (Marvell v. Coy Mistress, 16—). This formulation was rightly regarded as offensive, and most states in the United States have passed laws amending the common-law provision. It is unfortunate, however, that there has been no uniformity in these reforms. In Alabama, for example, the specified terminal date is when hell freezes over; in Oregon, on the other hand, the law states that the restrictions will terminate if it ever stops raining. In Pennsylvania law, the matter is decided according to who remembers the judge most generously on his birthday, as is the usual practice in similar cases.
The opinion you received from your other correspondent is not without merit. You might try forwarding that opinion to the judge hearing your case, along with the keys to a new Lexus. If, on the other hand, you were hoping that the restrictions would continue into eternity, Dr. Boli would caution you against undue optimism in that regard. In the heavenly hierarchy, such contracts are placed under the scrutiny of the Principalities, who are known to take a dim view of poorly worded agreements.