In Pennsylvania, courts will look at the “four corners of the document” to determine the intent of the parties when an issue arises with a provision in the contract. Generally, any evidence of previous oral or written negotiations or agreement involving the same subject matter as the contract is almost always inadmissible to explain or vary the terms of the contract. Yocca v. Pittsburgh Steelers Sports, Inc., 854 A.2d 425, 436 (Pa. 2004). This is called the parol evidence rule.
In Yocca, the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania reiterated that one exception to the parol evidence rule is that prior oral or written negotiations or agreements regarding a contract may be introduced to “vary a writing meant to be the parties’ entire contract where a party avers that a term was omitted from the contract because of fraud, accident, or mistake.” Another exception to allow parol evidence is to explain or clarify ambiguous terms of a contract. Id.
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