Brief Fact Summary. Plaintiff Steven Kiefer, purchased an automobile from Defendant Fred Howe Motors, Inc., when he was a few months short of his twenty-first birthday even though he represented that he was twenty-one already. After he became of age, Plaintiff sought to return the automobile and sued to recover the purchase price.
Synopsis of Rule of Law. The contract of a minor, other than for necessaries, is either void or voidable at his option.
The elements of a claim for intentional misrepresentation are: (1) a false representation of fact; (2) made with intent to defraud and for the purpose of inducing another to act upon it; and (3) upon which another did in fact rely and was induced to act, resulting in injury or damage.View Full Point of Law
Issue. Did the plaintiff have the capacity to enter into the contract?
Held. No. The age of majority at the time of this case was twenty-one years. The general rule is that a contract entered into by a minor is void or voidable. Hence, even though the Plaintiff misrepresented his age to Defendant, he was still a minor, and the contract is therefore voidable at the minor’s option. Since the minor properly returned the vehicle thereby voiding the contract, he is entitled to have the purchase price returned.
Dissent. The magical age of 21 as an indication of contractual maturity should be abandoned, as it does not have a basis in fact or public policy. Further, the vehicle must be considered a necessity to a working father.
Discussion. Incapacity to contract due to infancy is a per se rule. No evidence can be offered to prove capacity.