Citation. Thomas A. Edison, Inc. v. Kidd, 242 F. 923, 1917)
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Brief Fact Summary.
Defendant, Maxwell, hired Fuller as an agent to hire singers for recitals. The singers were not aware of the unique purpose of the recitals.
Synopsis of Rule of Law.
A principal is responsible for his agent for conduct that is reasonable for the scope of the agent’s duties, regardless of whether the conduct was actually sanctioned by the principal.
Fuller enlisted singers on behalf of Defendant for the purposes of advertisement. The singers, one of them being the Plaintiff, believed that the terms of their engagement would be similar to other engagements for entrance fees, and they had not received any indication that their terms would be otherwise. Defendant did not intend to engage Plaintiff under normal terms that Plaintiff believed the agent provided.
The issue is whether the principal is responsible for conduct of the agent that, while seemingly reasonable to third parties, was not actually delegated to the agent by the principal.
The principal-Defendant was liable for the actions of the agent. Once the principal delegates another person to act on his behalf, a third party should be able to rely upon the actions of an agent that are reasonable under the circumstances.
A third party should not have to confirm with a principal for every decision made by an agent. The purpose of an agent is to allow the principal to be free from direct interaction with the third party at issue.