ProfessorMelissa A. Hale
CaseCast™ – "What you need to know"
Brief Fact Summary. Plaintiff Joseph Dodson purchased a pick-up truck from Defendant Shrader’s Auto Sales. At the time of the sale Plaintiff was 16 years of age. After the truck broke down Plaintiff sought to rescind the sale on grounds that he lacked legal capacity to enter into the contract at the time of the sale.
Synopsis of Rule of Law. Absent overreaching and unfair bargaining, a seller may receive reasonable compensation for the use of, depreciation of, or damage to goods sold to a minor.
At a time when we see young persons between 18 and 21 years of age demanding and assuming more responsibilities in their daily lives; when we see such persons emancipated, married, and raising families; when we see such persons charged with the responsibility for committing crimes; when we see such persons being sued in tort claims for acts of negligence; when we see such persons subject to military service; when we see such persons engaged in business and acting in almost all other respects as an adult, it seems timely to re-examine the case law pertaining to contractual rights and responsibilities of infants to see if the law as pronounced and applied by the courts should be redefined.View Full Point of Law
Issue. Whether a seller is entitled to receive reasonable compensation for the loss of value to goods sold to a minor while such goods are in the minor’s possession.
Held. The Court held that absent any overreaching, fraud, or unfair advantage on the part of the adult seller, a seller is entitled to reasonable compensation for the use of, depreciation, or willful or negligent damage done to goods sold, while such goods are in the minor’s possession. The Court remanded the case to the trial court to make factual determinations of whether there was any overreaching, and if not, to determine whether Plaintiff’s actions of parking the car on the side of the road and failing to get the truck fixed constituted gross negligence on behalf of Plaintiff.
Dissent. This case provides protection to a seller by providing them with reasonable compensation for loss of value to goods while such goods are in a minor’s hands. It also protects the minor because this rule will only apply when there is no evidence of overreaching, fraud, or unfair advantage on part of the adult seller.
Discussion. A seller of goods to a minor, absent overreaching, fraud or unfair advantage, will be entitled to reasonable compensation for the use of, deprecation to, or damage done by willful or negligent conduct to goods sold, while such goods are in the minor’s possession.