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?
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 Anderson’s 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
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?
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.
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 car’s poor condition.
Where a minor sells real property he may not disaffirm the transaction until his
Upon reaching majority and within a reasonable time thereafter he may disaffirm the
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.