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AMI 2417 Contract Interpretation—Custom in the Trade

Arkansas Supreme Court Committee On Jury Instructions-Civil

Ark. Model Jury Instr., Civil AMI 2417
Arkansas Model Jury Instructions-Civil
November 2021 Update
Arkansas Supreme Court Committee On Jury Instructions-Civil
Chapter 24. Contracts
Contract Interpretation
AMI 2417 Contract Interpretation—Custom in the Trade
The parties' intent may be shown by custom in the trade. A “custom in the trade” is any practice or method of dealing that is uniform, reasonable, and so well established in the trade as to justify an expectation that it will be observed with respect to the contract in question.
NOTE ON USE
This instruction should be given only if the court has determined that the contract contains ambiguous language and that the meaning of the ambiguous language depends upon disputed extrinsic evidence.
If the contract is governed by Article 2 of the Uniform Commercial Code, use AMI 2511.
COMMENT
This instruction is based on the Restatement (Second) of Contracts § 222 (1981).
In Westark Surgical Clinic, P.A. v. Weisse, 279 Ark. 227, 229, 650 S.W.2d 571, 572 (1983), the supreme court stated, “a custom is admissible as evidence only if it is known to both parties, or is such a widespread custom in a trade that the parties will be presumed to be aware of the custom.”
In Venturi, Inc. v. Adkisson, 261 Ark. 855, 857, 552 S.W.2d 643, 645 (1977), the supreme court stated that evidence of custom and usage is not admissible to vary, contradict, or defeat the terms of a contract. However, if custom and usage is uniform, reasonable, and well established, it may govern the terms of a contract and may be considered part of the contract unless contradictory to the express terms of the contract.
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