Q: Once a contract is signed, is it possible to change a component and hold a party to the change without signing a new contract?I signed a contract with my nursing school when I started in August 2012. This is a 2 year program. On May 31, 2013, there was a change to the contract. I was never asked to sign a new contract until I brought the discrepancy up to the Dean. Is it legal for her to hold me to the change if I didn’t sign anything to agree to it? Is it legal for the Dean to tell us this contract is “for clinical reasons” when it is a grading scale issue?

A: Generally speaking, once it is signed, one party to a contract cannot unilaterally change any fundamental terms. This is unless language permitting such changes exists in the contract. However, I am not looking at these contracts and really cannot give you a certain answer. You need to review the contract with an attorney. I wouldn’t discuss this matter at school until you are fully apprised by an attorney as to whether you have legal rights or not. Also, I would also only fight this battle if it is an important one in that you want to be on good terms with the persons who right now can influence your career.

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