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Nugatory means “of no force or effect; useless; invalid,” as noted by the Supreme Court of Michigan, citing Black’s Law Dictionary, in their 2007 Apsey v. Memorial Hosp. holding.  The court provided the following example: “A statute is rendered nugatory when an interpretation fails to give it meaning or effect.”

A contract may be considered nugatory when the terms are worthless, particularly for one party. For example, after describing an interpretation of a contract that would allow one party could refuse to pay for a service without suffering any detriment, the Supreme Court of Michigan, in McTee Co. v. Brown Funeral Home, stated that it would not entertain the argument that “the parties intended to enter into any such one-sided and nugatory contract.”

[Last updated in June of 2020 by the Wex Definitions Team]