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Author Topic: signing "u.d." after your signature
darth_borehd
The Red and the Green Stamps


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I have been told before that if somebody is pressuring you to sign a contract, you can sneak the initials "u.d." after your name and it makes your signature invalid. I know that if you can prove in court that you were forced to agree to a contract that it could invalidate your signature, but I have doubts that just putting "u.d." after your name proves that. Anybody have more info on this?
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Archangel
Spider Cider


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Presumably u.d. denotes "under duress". Yes, duress is grounds for a determination that no contract has been formed.

The myth element is that u.d. of itself has some special legal power, which isn't so. But writing the letters could, quite reasonably be later cited as evidence of duress.

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jaimilyn
The Red and the Green Stamps


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Here's a case where the duress claim didn't work:

http://lawlibrary.rutgers.edu/decisions/appellate/a2900-98.opn.html

However it's more of a contract thing than a criminal proceeding. We'll see what more searching unveils

--jaimilyn

[edited to add:] Ok, this seems to be a good explanation, although it refers to actually writing the words "signed under duress" or something to that nature. Simply inserting the letters UD would be much more unclear as to the meaning. u.d. could stand for anything from uterine device to unidentified document.

However, as seen in my first example, inserting the letters or even the full phrase can backfire even when the meaning is clear. If you sign a document "under duress", legally speaking, there is no document. Therefore, the two parties involved owe each other nothing. But, if you accepted the benefits of the contract willingly (like a paycheck), you will have a very slim chance of proving your duress.

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Mama Duck
It Came Upon a Midnight Clearance


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From the Texas Attorney General John Cornyn:"The words "forced to sign under threat, duress and coercion" or "non assumpsit to the contents of this document" written under a person's signature on a state document may indicate that the person signing has not agreed to the terms of the document, and consequently that there has been no "meeting of the minds" that is necessary to form a binding agreement." source

Of course, this only applies to civil litigation. Also, it is not a "foolproof" method of invalidating a contract. If you accept the benefits of a contract, that is a defence that you accepted the whole contract in some cases. Signing "under duress" is a sticky issue and its validity is judged on a case by case basis.

In criminal investigations, signing "under duress" can throw into questiont the validity of the affadavit and the information contained therein. But again, the validity and extent of duress is judged on a case by case basis.
Also, it's my understanding that signing just "u.d." after a signature does nothing. One could mean anything by "u.d." such as "uterine device" or "union demonstration".

Frankly, the only thing "under duress" after your name on a personal check will do is make your bank antsy.

~Not a black and white issue~

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There is no interpersonal problem so big that it can't be solved with a suitably large amount of high explosives. ~ Bufungla

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Kathy B
Angels Wii Have Heard on High


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An opinion from the Texas Attorney GeneralTeh opinion cites a number of cases.
quote:
As these cases illustrate, whether certain words written beneath a signature in response to an offer is an acceptance or a rejection of the offer depends upon the factual circumstances surrounding the proposed agreement. In some cases the words may stand in the way of an agreement; in other cases they may not. Consequently, we are unable to say what the effect of the words "forced to sign under threat, duress, and coercion" or "non assumpsit to the contents of this document" will be in every case. As a general rule, however, these words may indicate that the person signing has not agreed to the terms of the document, and consequently that there has been no "meeting of the minds" that is necessary to form a binding agreement.

S U M M A R Y

The words "forced to sign under threat, duress and coercion" or "non assumpsit to the contents of this document" written under a person's signature on a state document may indicate that the person signing has not agreed to the terms of the document, and consequently that there has been no "meeting of the minds" that is necessary to form a binding agreement.

This opinion was in regards to an income tax settlement. Most of the UD stuff comes form tax protestors. However, there have been a number of court rulings that your signature has nothign to do with your tax liability. (A spouse who is forced to sign a tax return "under duress" because of fear of getting beat up or something is a different legal issue.)

From the tax protester FAQ
quote:
A similar claim is that a federal income tax return is a form of contract, and is therefore voluntary, or invalid if entered into under duress. This claim is also uniformly rejected:
"The notion that the federal income tax is contractual or otherwise consensual in nature is not only utterly without foundation by, despite McLaughlin's protestations to the contrary, has been repeatedly rejected by the courts." McLaughlin v. United States, 832 F2d 986 (7th Cir. 1987).

"Drefke argues that taxes are debts which can only be imposed voluntarily when individuals contract with the government for services and that those who choose to enter such contracts do so by signing 1040 and W-4 forms. By refusing to sign those forms, Drefke argues that he is 'immune' from the Internal Revenue Service's jurisdiction as a 'nontaxpayer.' "This is an imaginative argument, but totally without arguable merit. 26 U.S.C. § 1 imposes upon 'every' individual a certain rate of income tax depending on their amount of taxable income. 26 U.S.C. § 6012 states that unmarried individuals having a gross income in excess of $4,300, and married individuals entitled to make joint returns having a gross income in excess of $5,400 'shall' file tax returns for the taxable year. Considering Drefke's gross income for 1979 and 1980, he was clearly required to file tax returns for those years. "26 U.S.C. § 6151 states that when a tax return is required to be filed, the person so required 'shall' pay such taxes to the internal revenue officer with whom the return is filed at the fixed time and place. The sections of the Internal Revenue Code imposed a duty on Drefke to file tax returns and pay the appropriate rate of income tax, a duty which he chose to ignore." United States v. Drefke, 707 F.2d 978, 981 (8th Cir. 1983), cert. den., sub nom., Jameson v. United States, 464 U.S. 942 (1983).

"Upon review of May's amended peition, we find no allegations of fact which could give rise to a valid claim; rather, the complaint merely contains conclusory assertions attacking the constitutionality of the Internal Revenue Code and its application to the taxpayer.[Footnote omitted.] Tax protest cases like this one raise no genuine controversy; the underlying legal issues have long been settled. See, e.g., Abrams, 82 T.C. at 406-07 (citing cases rejecting similar arguments). Because May's petition raised no justiciable claims, the Tax Court properly dismissed the petition for failure to state a claim." May v. C.I.R., 752 F.2d 1301, 1302 (8th Cir. 1985), (among other things, May's amended complaint alleged that "The filing of an 'imcome' [sic] tax return is 'VOLUNTARY' and penalties can not be instituted against a voluntary act since to do so would make the act 'mandatory.'" 752 F.2d at 1304, note 3).

Kathy "under a dress" B.

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The plural of "anecdote" is not "data."

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rat-dawg
The Red and the Green Stamps


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I usually just write M.D. under my name, for Mack Daddy.
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Pseudo_Croat
Angels Wii Have Heard on High


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(sighs, makes a gesture that says, "OMG, do we have to go through this again?)

Tax evader/patriot/militia-type folks are one of my many personal munchkins. Where do these NFBSKs come from, anyway?

- Pseudo "render under duress..." Croat

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"At all events, people who deny the influence of smaller nations should remember that the Croats have the rest of us by the throats." - Norman Davies, Europe: A History

God wants spiritual fruits, not religious nuts.

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Silas Sparkhammer
I Saw V-Chips Come Sailing In


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quote:
Originally posted by Pseudo_Croat:
Tax evader/patriot/militia-type folks are one of my many personal munchkins. Where do these NFBSKs come from, anyway?

I find the psychology intriguing. It's as if they are desperate to accept the legitimacy of the government -- they're *patriots* first and foremost -- and thus they are searching for a "magic answer" that exists within the law. Thus their hyper-legalistic fantasies about gold-fringed flags, the difference of a comma in a phrase, etc. They imagine that these flaws, once pointed out to a judge, will compel the judge to side with them.

The courts are the interface between the law and reality. In reality, the government needs money, and the income tax seems to work, and thus no court in the U.S. is going to invalidate it.

And...if they did...we'd have a national sales tax and property tax in place inside nine days. It's a big country, and can't be run on the cheap.

Silas (ya pays yer money and ya takes yer chance) Sparkhammer

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When on music's mighty pinion, souls of men to heaven rise,
Then both vanish earth's dominion, man is native to the skies.

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Richard W
Ding Dong! Merrily on High Definition TV


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There was this story last year about Reza Pankhurst, a Briton on trial in Egypt who was allegedly tortured into signing a false confession that he couldn't even read - he changed his signature on some pages to read "Pankliest" and, I think, Pankhurts, to demonstrate subtly that it was signed under duress. I don't know what good it's done in a legal sense though, other than making it harder to use the "confession" in the trial, and gathering publicity for his cause.
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Otters kinda look like rats
The Red and the Green Stamps


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Wouldn't the person forcing you to sign it notice the U.D., punish you for writing it, and then make you sign it again without the U.D.?
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Publius
Happy Holly Days


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Maybe, but they also might mistake for a title. I think something like "Pankhurts" is a lot more clever, though.

Publi-"it's like an MD, really"-us

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