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CONTRACTUAL C CAPACITY
ANSWERS TO PROBLEMS CHAPTER 14
Michael, a minor, operates a one-man automobile repair shop. Anderson, having heard of Michael's good work on other
cars, takes her car to Michael's shop for a thorough engine overhaul. Michael, while overhauling Anderson's engine,
carelessly fits an unsuitable piston ring on one of the pistons, with the result that Anderson's engine is seriously damaged.
Michael offers to return the sum that Anderson paid him for his work, but refuses to make good the damage. Can Anderson
recover from Michael in tort for the damage to her engine? Why?
Answer: Liability for Tort Connected with Contract. No. Decision for Michael. It is clear that the
negligence by Michael in carelessly fitting an unsuitable piston ring on one of the pistons, thereby
seriously damaging the engine in Andersons car, grew out of a voidable contract; it would not
have occurred had there been no contract, and it is inextricably bound to and interwoven into the
contract. To allow recovery for the tort would indirectly enforce the contract, which the court
would not permit.
(a) On March 20, Andy Small became seventeen years old, but he appeared to be at least twenty-one. On April 1, he moved
into a rooming house in Chicago where he orally agreed to pay $300 a month for room and board, payable at the end of
(b) On April 4, he went to Honest Hal's Carfeteria and signed a contract to buy a used car on credit with a small down
payment. He made no representation as to his age, but Honest Hal represented the car to be in A-1 condition, which it
turned out not to be.
(c) On April 7, Andy sold and conveyed to Adam Smith a parcel of real estate that he owned.
On April 30, he refused to pay his landlady for his room and board for the month of April; he returned the car to Honest Hal
and demanded a refund of his down payment; and he demanded that Adam Smith reconvey the land although the purchase
price, which Andy received in cash, had been spent in riotous living. Decisions as to each claim?
Answer: Liability for Necessaries . (a) Even where a minor is liable for necessaries he is not liable at
the contract rate but only for the reasonable value. Here, Andy is liable for the reasonable value of
the room and board for April.
(b) Liability for Misrepresentation of Age . Andy did not misrepresent his age. He may disaffirm
the contract and, upon returning the car to Honest Hal, since he still has it, he will be entitled to a
refund of his down payment, and will not be liable for the balance of the purchase price. Hal may
be charged with fraudulent inducement if he had knowledge of the cars poor condition.
(c) Disaffirmance . Where a minor sells real property he may not disaffirm the transaction until his
majority. Upon reaching majority and within a reasonable time thereafter he may disaffirm the
sale. A minor need only return the consideration received, under the majority rule, if he still has it
in his possession at the time of disaffirmance.
Jones, a minor, owned a 2006 automobile. She traded it to Stone for a 2007 car. Jones went on a three-week trip and found
that the 2007 car was not as good as the 2006 car. She asked Stone to return the 2006 car but was told that it had been
sold to Tate. Jones thereupon sued Tate for the return of the 2006 car. Is Jones entitled to regain ownership of the 2006
Answer: Disaffirmance . No. Although Jones could avoid the sale as against Stone, he could not
recover the car from Tate who purchased the car in good faith and for value from Stone. At
common law Jones, the minor, could recover the car from the third person, Tate, to whom Stone,
the other party to the contract with Jones had transferred it, even though the third person did not
know of the minority and purchased the car for value. However, the UCC repudiates this rule,
Section 2-403(1) provides that "a person with voidable title has power to transfer a good title to a
good faith purchaser for value."
On May 7, Roy, a minor, a resident of Smithton, purchased an automobile from Royal Motors, Inc., for $12,750 in cash. On
the same day, he bought a motor scooter from Marks, also a minor, for $750 and paid him in full. On June 5, two days
before attaining his majority, Roy disaffirmed the contracts and offered to return the car and the motor scooter to the
respective sellers. Royal Motors and Marks each refused the offers. On June 16, Roy brought separate appropriate actions
against Royal Motors and Marks to recover the purchase price of the car and the motor scooter. By agreement on July 30,
Royal Motors accepted the automobile. Royal then filed a counterclaim against Roy for the reasonable rental value of the
car between June 5 and July 30. The car was not damaged during this period. Royal knew that Roy lived twenty-five miles
from his place of employment in Smithton and that he would probably drive the car, as he did, to provide himself
transportation. Decision as to (a) Roy's action against Royal Motors, Inc., and its counterclaim against Roy; (b) Roy's
action against Marks?
Answer: Liability for Necessaries . (a) Roy, a minor, had the right to disaffirm the contract for the
purchase of the automobile, if it is a non-necessary. On the other hand, if the car is considered a
necessary, as in Rose v. Shehan Buick , Roy would either be liable for the reasonable value of the
automobile or if allowed to disaffirm for the reasonable value of use and depreciation of the
automobile. Here, since Royal accepted the return of the automobile it may have forfeited its right
to the former: the reasonable value of the automobile.
(b) Disaffirmance . Decision for Roy and against Marks for the return of the purchase price of the
motor scooter. The general rule that the contracts of a minor are voidable at his option applies to
an executed contract between two minors. To hold the rule inapplicable, the court, in Hurwitz v.
Barr, D.C. App., 193 A.2d 360 said: would convert the privilege of infancy, which the law
intends as a shield, to protect the minor, into a sword to be used to the possible injury of others.
W hile Marks as a minor has the option of disaffirming the contract, this option cannot nullify any
rights or privileges which Roy, also, a minor, is capable of asserting. Accordingly, Marks cannot
destroy Roys right to rescind, and the contract was therefore voidable by Roy.
George Jones on October 1, being then a minor, entered into a contract with Johnson Motor Company, a dealer in
automobiles, to buy a car for $10,850. He paid $1,100 down and, under the agreement, was to make monthly payments
thereafter of $325 each. After making the first payment on November 1, he failed to make any more payments. Although
Jones was seventeen years old at the time he made the contract, he represented to the company that he was twenty-one
years old because he was afraid that if the company knew his real age, it would not sell the car to him. His appearance was
that of a man of twenty-one years of age. On December 15, the company repossessed the car under the terms provided in
the contract. At that time, the car had been damaged and was in need of repairs. On December 20, George Jones became of
age and at once disaffirmed the contract and demanded the return of the $1,425 he had paid on it. On refusal of the
company to do so, George Jones brought an action to recover the $1,425, and the company set up a counterclaim for
$1,500 for expenses it incurred in repairing the car. Who will prevail? Why?
Answer: Liability for Misrepresentation of Age . George Jones may disaffirm the contract even though
he deliberately misrepresented his age. Most courts would hold that Jones is not estopped from
asserting his minority in order to sue Johnson Motor Company. At the same time, many courts
would not grant Jones the relief sought unless he offered to return the car and also to account to the
company for depreciation and the value of the use of the car where he has falsified his age. Here,
the car has already been repossessed by Johnson Motor Company. This problem is based upon the
leading case of Myers v. Hurley Motor Co., 273 U.S. 18, 47 S.Ct. 277, 71 L.Ed. 515, 50 A.L.R.
1181, where a minor appeared to be more than 21 but made no misrepresentation to induce the
making of the contract for the purchase of an automobile. The seller repossessed the car, and the
minor, after attaining his majority, sought to recover the amount paid on the purchase price. The
seller sought to recover a somewhat larger amount for damages to the car while in the minor's
possession. The United States Supreme Court stated that: "The defense, in effect, is that the
plaintiff was guilty of tortious conduct to the injury of the defendant in the transaction out of which
his own cause of action arose. In such case it is well settled that the relief is by way of
recoupment." The seller was held entitled to a setoff up to but not exceeding the amount of the
plaintiff's claim. The company would be entitled to a setoff of $1,225, for depreciation in value,
against the amount of Jones' claim.
Rebecca entered into a written contract to sell certain real estate to Mary, a minor, for $80,000, payable $4,000 on the
execution of the contract and $800 on the first day of each month thereafter until paid. Mary paid the $4,000 down
payment and eight monthly installments before attaining her majority. Thereafter, Mary made two additional monthly
payments and caused the contract to be recorded in the county where the real estate was located. Mary was then advised
by her attorney that the contract was voidable. After being so advised, Mary immediately tendered the contract to Rebecca,
together with a deed reconveying all of Mary's interest in the property to Rebecca. Also, Mary demanded that Rebecca
return the money she had paid under the contract. Rebecca refused the tender and declined to repay any portion of the
money paid to her by Mary Can Mary cancel the contract and recover the amount paid to Rebecca? Explain.
Answer: Ratification. No. Decision in favor of Rebecca. A minor may disaffirm a contract for the
sale of real property made by him during minority within a reasonable time after attaining his
majority and he may, by acts recognizing the contract after becoming of age, ratify it. Since Mary
had made two payments and caused the contract to be recorded, after she became of age, she
arguably ratified the contract and will not be permitted to say that she performed these acts of
ratification in ignorance of her right to disaffirm. She was not induced by fraud or
misrepresentation to enter into the contract. The two payments after attaining her majority
evidenced Marys intention to comply with the contract and constituted a ratification of it, unless
the fact that she did not then know the law authorized her to disaffirm thereafter. Mary is
presumed to know the law, and cannot be heard to say that she was ignorant of her legal right in
Anita sold and delivered an automobile to Marvin, a minor. Marvin, during his minority, returned the automobile to Anita,
saying that he disaffirmed the sale. Anita accepted the automobile and said she would return the purchase price to Marvin
the next day. Later in the day, Marvin changed his mind, took the automobile without Anita's knowledge, and sold it to
Chris. Anita had not returned the purchase price when Marvin took the car. On what theory, if any, can Anita recover from
Answer: Liability for Tort Connected with Contract. Marvin, the minor, having made a contract for
the purchase of the car from Anita, and having received possession thereof, was the owner of the
car, subject to disaffirmance. The act of disaffirmance, however, is not a new contract, which the
minor, in turn, may disaffirm. Upon disaffirmance he merely had the right to the return of the
purchase price. Therefore, when Marvin changed his mind, he created no new rights in himself.
He had retransferred possession and title to the car to Anita. Marvin's taking the car constituted the
tort of conversion, and Marvin would be liable in an appropriate action based upon his tortious act.
Ira, who in 2005 had been found innocent of a criminal offense because of insanity, was released from a hospital for the
criminally insane during the summer of 2006 and since that time has been a reputable and well-respected citizen and
businessperson. On February 1, 2007, Ira and Shirley entered into a contract in which Ira would sell his farm to Shirley for
$100,000. Ira now seeks to void the contract. Shirley insists that Ira is fully competent and has no right to avoid the
contract. Who will prevail? Why?
Answer: Mental Illness or Defect . Shirley should prevail. As Ira was not under guardianship, he
would have to establish that he was unable to comprehend the subject of the contract, its nature and
probable consequences in order to avoid the contract. The facts of this problem do not establish
such a situation.
. Daniel, while under the influence of alcohol, agreed to sell his 2000 automobile to Belinda for $8,000. The next morning,
when Belinda went to Daniels house with the $8,000 in cash, Daniel stated that he did not remember the transaction but
that a deal is a deal. One week after completing the sale, Daniel decides that he wishes to avoid the contract. What
Answer: Intoxicated Persons. Judgment for Belinda. Even if Daniel at the time of entering into the
agreement had been unable to comprehend the nature and effect of the transaction because of
intoxication, Daniel affirmed the contract the next morning and is thereby precluded from avoiding
10. Langstraat, age seventeen, owned a motorcycle that he insured against liability with Midwest Mutual Insurance Company.
He signed a notice of rejection attached to the policy indicating that he did not desire to purchase uninsured motorists'
coverage from the insurance company. Later he was involved in an accident with another motorcycle owned and operated
by a party who was uninsured. Langstraat now seeks to recover from the insurance company, asserting that his rejection
was not a valid rejection because he is a minor. Can Langstraat recover from Midwest? Explain.
Answer: Ratification/Disaffirmance. Judgment for Midwest Mutual Insurance Company. This is not
a case in which the minor seeks to disaffirm a contract. What Langstraat seeks here is to ratify and
retain the benefits of the policy but to avoid the one provision which has become burdensome. A
minor is not permitted this selective choice. Ratification and disaffirmance go to the whole
contract. Since Langstraat did not wish to disaffirm the insurance policy, the notice of rejection is
valid, and he is not entitled to recover. Langstraat v. Midwest Mutual Ins. Co., 217 N.W.2d 570
11. G.A.S. married his wife, S.I.S., on January 19, 1997. He began to suffer mental health problems in 2003, during which year
he was hospitalized at the Delaware State Hospital for eight weeks. Similar illnesses occurred in 2005 and the early part of
2007, with G.A.S. suffering from such symptoms as paranoia and loss of a sense of reality. In early 2008, G.A.S. was still
committed to the Delaware State Hospital, attending a regular job during the day and returning to the hospital at night.
During this time, he entered into a separation agreement prepared by his wifes attorney. G.A.S., however, never spoke
with the attorney about the contents of the agreement; nor did he read it prior to signing. Moreover, G.A.S. was not
independently represented by counsel when he executed this agreement. Can G.A.S. disaffirm the separation agreement?
Answer: Incapacity. Yes he may disaffirm it. Only competent persons can make a contract, and
where there is no capacity to understand, there is no contract. Although petitioner was still under
commitment to Delaware State Hospital at the time of the separation agreement, he had not been
judicially adjudicated mentally incompetent, and therefore the agreement is not void but may be
voidable. The mental incapacity sufficient to permit the cancellation of an agreement must render
the individual incapable of understanding the nature and effect of the transaction, and unable to
properly, intelligently and fairly protect and preserve his property rights.
The domestic relations court held that even if the mental weakness of the petitioner in this case did
not rise to the level of contractual incapacity, such weakness is a circumstance that operates to
make the separation agreement voidable when coupled with the evidence of lack of independent
counsel, undue influence, drug ingestion and unfairness in the transaction that is present in this
case. GAS v. SIS, 407 A.2d 253 (Del. 1978).
12. A fifteen-year-old minor was employed by Midway Toyota, Inc., of Great Falls, Montana. On August 18, 2006, the minor,
while in engaged lifting heavy objects, injured his lower back. In October 2006 he underwent surgery to remove a
herniated disk. Midway Toyota paid him the appropriate amount of temporary total disability payments ($53.36 per week)
from August 18, 2006, through November 15, 2007. In February 2008 a final settlement was reached for 150 weeks of
permanent partial disability benefits totaling $6,136.40. Tom Mazurek represented Midway Toyota in the negotiations
leading to the agreement and negotiated directly with the minor and his mother, Hermoine Parrent. The final settlement
agreement was signed by the minor only. Mrs. Parrent, who was present at the time, did not object to the signing, but
neither she nor anyone else of legal guardian status co-signed the agreement. The minor later sought to disaffirm the
agreement and reopen his workers compensation case. The workers compensation court denied his petition, holding that
Mrs. Parrent participated fully in consideration of the offered final settlement and ... ratified and approved it on behalf of
her ward ...to the same legal effect as if she had actually signed [it]. ... The minor appealed. Decision?
Answer: Disaffirmance. Judgment for the minor. The Montana statute allows a minor to disaffirm his
contract. Because the sixteen-year-old claimant signed the petition for final settlement in his own
behalf, he alone was the contracting party. Tom Mazurek chose to contract with the claimant; he
must be prepared to accept the consequences of claimant's disaffirmance of the petition. The person
who deals with an infant does so at his own peril. Defendant claims that the mother, Hermoine
Parrent, was present at all times during the signing of the contract, that the mother approved of the
contract; that there was no objection to the contract; that the adjuster negotiated with the mother
and the claimant prior to and after the signing of the contract, the mother was aware of the contract
rights of claimant and did not object to the same. Nevertheless, since the mother did not sign the
agreement and since the minor is not bound by the agreement, the agreement is unenforceable.
Parrent v. Midway Toyota, 626 P.2d 848 (Mont. 1981).
13. Rose, a minor, bought a new Buick Riviera from Sheehan Buick. Seven months later, while still a minor, he attempted to
disaffirm the purchase. Sheehan Buick refused to accept the return of the car or to refund the purchase price. Rose, at the
time of the purchase, gave all the appearance of being of legal age. The car had been used by him to carry on his school,
business, and social activities. Can Rose successfully disaffirm the contract?
Answer: Liability for Necessaries . Decision for Sheehan Buick. The car is a necessary item for Rose
to carry out his schooling, business and other activities. Therefore, he cannot avoid the obligation.
Rose v. Sheehan Buick, Inc. , 204 So.2d 903 (1967).
14. L. D. Robertson bought a pickup truck from King and Julian, doing business as the Julian Pontiac Company. Robertson, at
the time of purchase, was seventeen years old, living at home with his parents, and driving his father's truck around the
county to different construction jobs. According to the sales contract, he traded in a passenger car for the truck and was
given $723 credit toward the truck's $1,743 purchase price, agreeing to pay the remainder in monthly installments. After he
paid the first month's installment, the truck caught fire and was rendered useless. The insurance agent, upon finding that
Robertson was a minor, refused to deal with him. Consequently, Robertson sued to exercise his right as a minor to rescind
the contract and to recover the purchase price he had already paid ($723 credit for the car plus the one month's
installment). The defendants argue that Robertson, even as a minor, cannot rescind the contract since it was for a
necessary item. Are they correct?
Answer: Disaffirmance by a Minor/Necessary Items . Judgment for Robertson. A minor may rescind
a contract to purchase where the property involved is not a necessary. There was no evidence that
Robertson, who lived at home with his parents, needed the truck in connection with any work he
was doing. Since the defendant failed to prove that the truck was a necessary item, Robertson, as a
minor, may rescind.
Upon avoidance of the contract Robertson was then entitled to recover the car traded in on
payment for the truck, but the defendants had already disposed of it. Robertson was therefore
entitled to receive the actual value of the traded-in car. Nevertheless, the actual value of a trade-in
may be less than the value stated in the contract. Neither party is bound by the contract value.
Thus, Robertson is entitled to recover the reasonable market value of the car at the time of purchase
($250), rather than the value stated in the contract ($723). Robertson v. King, 225 Ark. 276, 280
S.W.2d 402 (1955).
15. Haydocy Pontiac sold Jennifer Lee an automobile for $11,552, of which $10,402 was financed with a note and security
agreement. At the time of the sale Lee, age twenty, represented to Haydocy that she was twenty-one years old, the age of
majority, and capable of contracting. After receiving the car, Lee allowed John Roberts to take possession of it. Roberts
took the car and has not returned. Lee has failed to make any further payments on the car. Haydocy has sued to recover on
the note, but Lee disaffirms the contract, claiming that she was too young to enter into a valid contract. Can Haydocy
recover the money from Lee? Explain.
Answer: Infancy. Judgment for Haydocy for the value of the automobile not to exceed its contract
price. Although the law allows infants the privilege of disaffirming contracts which operate to
their detriment, an infant is estopped from using this defense when the other party has contracted
in good faith and it is the infant who induces the contract through false representation. The infant
in such cases may not disaffirm the contract without returning the consideration to the other party.
Haydocy Pontiac, Inc. v. Lee , 19 Ohio App.2d 217, 250 N.E. 2d 898 (1969).
16. Carol White ordered a $225 pair of contact lenses through an optometrist. White, an emancipated minor, paid $100 by
check and agreed to pay the remaining $125 at a later time. The doctor ordered the lenses, incurring a debt of $110. After
the lenses were ordered, White called to cancel her order and stopped payment on the $100 check. The lenses could be
used by no one but White. The doctor sued White for the value of the lenses. Will the doctor be able to recover the money
from White? Explain.
Answer: Infancy. Judgment for doctor in the amount of $150 (amount considered reasonable by the
court). The contact lenses are considered necessaries and are of no value to anyone except White.
Due to the nature of the goods, the doctor cannot be compensated for his loss except by payment
of a reasonable amount. An infant may be held liable for the fair value of necessaries despite a
contract to pay more. Cidis v. White, 71 Misc. 2d 481, 336 N.Y.S.2d 362 (1972).
17. Williamson, her mortgage in default, was threatened with foreclosure on her home. She decided to sell the house. The
Matthewses learned of this and contacted her about the matter. Williamson claims that she offered to sell her equity for
$17,000 and that the Matthewses agreed to pay off the mortgage. The Matthewses contend that the asking price was
$1,700. On September 27, the parties signed a contract of sale, which stated the purchase price to be $1,800 (an increase
of $100 to account for furniture in the house) plus the unpaid balance of the mortgage. The parties met again on October
10 to sign the deed. Later that day, Williamson, concerned that she had not received her full $17,000 consideration,
contacted an attorney. Can Williamson set aside the sale based upon inadequate consideration and mental weakness due to
Answer: Intoxicated Persons. The drunkenness of a party at the time of making a contract may render
the contract voidable, but it does not render it void; and to render the contract voidable, it must be
made to appear that the party was intoxicated to such a degree that he was, at the time of the
contracting, incapable of exercising judgment, understanding the proposed engagement, and of
knowing what he was about when he entered into the contract sought to be avoided. Proof merely
that the party was drunk on the day the sale was executed does not per se, show that he was
without contractual capacity; there must be some evidence of a resultant condition indicative of
that extreme impairment of the faculties which amount to contractual incapacity. However,
numerous factors combine to warrant the conclusion that the plaintiff was operating under
diminished capacity. Testimony showed that Williamson's capacity to transact business was
impaired, that she had a history of drinking, that she had been drinking the day she conducted
negotiations, and that she had an apparent weakened will because she was pressured by the
possibility of an impending foreclosure. Moreover, Williamson made complaint to an attorney
only hours after the transaction. These factors are combined with a gross inadequacy of
consideration. Williamson v. Matthews, 379 So.2d 1245 (Ala. 1980).
18. Halbman, a minor, purchased a used Oldsmobile from Lemke for $1,250. Under the terms of the contract, Halbman would
pay $1,000 down and the balance in $25 weekly installments. Upon making the down payment, Halbman received
possession of the car, but Lemke retained the title until the balance was paid. After Halbman had made his first four
payments, a connecting rod in the cars engine broke. Lemke denied responsibility, but offered to help Halbman repair it if
Halbman would provide the parts. Halbman, however, placed the car in a garage where the repairs cost $637.40. Halbman
never paid the repair bill
Hoping to avoid any liability for the vehicle, Lemke transferred title to Halbman even though Halbman never paid the
balance owed. Halbman returned the title with a letter disaffirming the contract and demanded return of the money paid.
Lemke refused. Since the repair bill remained unpaid, the garage removed the car's engine and transmission and towed the
body to Halbman's father's house. Vandalism during the period of storage rendered the car unsalvageable. Several times
Halbman requested Lemke to remove the car. Lemke refused. Halbman sued Lemke for the return of his consideration, and
Lemke countersued for the amount still owed on the contract. Decision?
Answer: Disaffirmance. Judgment for Halbman. Halbman, as a minor, had an absolute right to
disaffirm the contract for the purchase of the car, since it is not a necessary item. He is also
entitled to recover all consideration he has conferred incident to the transaction. As a disaffirming
minor, he is under an enforceable duty to return only that much of the consideration as remained in
his possession; he need not make restitution for that which he does not possess. If there was a
misrepresentation by Halbman or willful destruction of the car, Lemke could have recovered
damages in tort. Otherwise, to require a disaffirming minor to make restitution for diminished
value is to bind the minor to a part of the obligation that by law he is privileged to avoid. Halbman
v. Lemke, 298 N.W.2d 562 (Wisc. 1980).
19. On June 11, Chagnon bought a used Buick from Keser for $9950. Chagnon, who was then a twenty-year-old minor,
obtained the contract by falsely advising Keser that he was over twenty-one years old, the age of majority. On September
25, two months and four days after his twenty-first birthday, Chagnon disaffirmed the contract and, ten days later, returned
the Buick to Keser. He then brought suit to recover the money he had paid for the automobile. Keser counterclaimed that
he suffered damages as the direct result of Chagnons false representation of his age. A trial was had to the court, sitting
without a jury, all of which culminated in a judgment in favor of Chagnon against Keser in the sum of $6557.80. This
particular sum was arrived at by the trial court in the following manner: the trial court found that Chagnon initially
purchased the Buick for the sum of $9950 and that he was entitled to the return of his $9950; and then, by way of setoff, the
trial court subtracted from the $9950 the sum of $3392.20, apparently representing the difference between the purchase
price paid for the vehicle and the reasonable value of the Buick on October 5, the date when the Buick was returned to
Keser. Is this legally correct? Do you agree? Why?
Answer: Liability for Misrepresentation of Age. Judgment for Keser. If a minor does not exercise his
right to disaffirm a contract within a "reasonable time" after he reaches the age of majority, he
loses that right. Here, however, Chagnon's disaffirmance just two months after reaching majority,
was within a reasonable time. Once he returned the carthe only consideration in his possession
he was entitled to recover the full $9950.
While a false representation of his age does not destroy a minor's right to disaffirm, it does permit
the seller to deduct from the buyer's compensation any damages that he suffered due to the false
representation. The measure of damages for the seller is the difference between the reasonable
value of the property on the date of delivery and its reasonable value on the date of return. Since
Chagnon obtained the contract by false representation of his age, he will not recover his full $9950.
Instead, his recovery is decreased by the amount of Keser's damagesthe loss of the Buick's
20. . On April 29, 2007 Kirsten Fletcher and John E. Marshall III jointly signed a lease to rent an apartment for the term
beginning on July 1, 2007, and ending on June 30, 2008, for a monthly rent of $525 per month. At the time the lease was
signed, Marshall was not yet eighteen years of age. Marshall turned eighteen on May 30, 2007. Two weeks later, the couple
moved into the apartment. About two months later, Marshall moved out to attend college, but Fletcher remained. She paid
the rent herself for the remaining ten months of the lease and then sought contribution for Marshalls share of the rent plus
court costs in the amount of $2,500. Can Fletcher collect from Marshall?
Answer: Minors: Ratification. Yes. A contract of a minor is not void, but is voidable at the election
of the minor. After attaining majority, a minor may either disaffirm or ratify a contract that he
entered into while he was still a minor. Also, once a contract is ratified by the minor it cannot then
be disaffirmed by subsequent conduct. Two weeks after becoming 18 years of age, Marshall moved
into the apartment and paid rent. He lived in the apartment for about 1 1/2 months and never took
any action to disaffirm the lease before moving out. Marshalls occupancy and payment of rent
constitute unequivocal ratification of the lease. Because he had already ratified the lease, his later
attempt to disaffirm it by moving out of the apartment and refusing to make further payments was
of no effect. Accordingly, the trial courts judgment was against the manifest weight of the
evidence. Marshall remained liable for the rent for the remainder of the lease term and is therefore
liable to the Fletcher for the rent payments she made on his behalf.
21. Rogers was a nineteen-year-old (the age of majority then being twenty-one) high school graduate pursuing a civil
engineering degree when he learned that his wife was expecting a child. As a result, he quit school and sought assistance
from Gastonia Personnel Corporation in finding a job. Rogers signed a contract with the employment agency providing that
he would pay the agency a service charge if it obtained suitable employment for him. The employment agency found him
such a job, but Rogers refused to pay the service charge, asserting that he was a minor when he signed the contract.
Gastonia sued to recover the agreed-upon service charge from Rogers. Should Rogers be liable under his contract? If so,
for how much?
Answer: Minors: Necessaries. Yes. Judgment for Gastonia Personnel Corp. In general, a contract
with a minor is voidable by the minor unless the contract is for necessaries. The law is based on
the idea that society has a moral obligation to protect the interests of minors from overreaching
adults. In its effort to protect "older minors" from improvident or unfair contract, however, the law
should not deny them the opportunity and the right to obligate themselves for articles of property
or services that are reasonably necessary to enable them to provide for the proper support of
themselves and their dependents. Since the service provided by the employment agency in finding
Rogers a suitable job qualifies as such a service, the contract is not voidable, and the agency can
recover the charge.