(TITLE) ROBERTSON vs. KING CASE#1
FACTS: Robertson, a minor, made a contract to purchase a pickup truck for
$1,743.85, less a trade-in allowance of $723.85 on his car. He agreed to pay the balance in installments. The minor had trouble with the truck, and after having paid one installment, the truck was destroyed by fire. The minor sought to avoid his contract and recover the value of his contract and recover the value of his car which had been sold by the dealer.
The auto company defended that the minor had returned the truck; that the truck was a necessary, and for this reason the minor could not avoid his contract; and further that even if the contract could be avoided, they would not have to return the amount allowed on the trade, but only the reasonable value of the car at the time it was traded.
ISSUE: Can the minor avoid his contract?
Must the minor physically return the truck?
Was the car a necessary?
Should the minor recover the trade in allowance or only the reasonable value of the car?
DECISION: For ROBERTSON, the minor (Trial Court was reversed).
The minor can avoid his contract; the truck was not a necessary;
The minor need not physically return the truck and he can only recover the reasonable value of the car he traded.
REASON: All contracts of minors are voidable. Even contracts for necessaries may be avoided, although in such a case the minor would be held liable on a quasi contract for the reasonable value of the necessaries.
The truck was not a necessary for work because he was driven to work in his father’s truck.
Regarding the trade in. If the auto company had the care they would have to return it to the minor, but since it has been sold and they are unable to return it, they must compensate the minor, not for the trade- in allowance (because this figure was arrived at by reason of the contract and the contract is being avoided) but they must return to the minor the reasonable value of the car at the time it was traded in.
As far as returning the truck, this was not properly an issue because the facts showed that the auto company did, in fact, have the truck. However, the rule is that a minor who avoids a contract must return the goods, if he has the goods, or if he cannot, he must tell the other party where the goods are, etc.
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