Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Kiefer v. Fred Howe Motors, Inc. case brief

Kiefer v. Fred Howe Motors, Inc. case brief summary
158 N.W.2d 288 (1968)

CASE SYNOPSIS
Appellant car dealership sought review of a decision of the Circuit Court for Waukesha County (Wisconsin), on the issues of whether respondent emancipated minor was legally responsible for his contract with the dealership, whether that contract was disaffirmed, and whether the minor was liable for misrepresentation.

CASE FACTS
The emancipated minor entered into a contract with the car dealership. The car dealership sought review of the decision of the trial court as to whether the minor was legally responsible for the contract, whether he had disaffirmed the contract, and whether he was liable in tort for misrepresentation.

DISCUSSION

  • The upper court affirmed the trial court's decision and held that the general rule that the contract of a minor was void or voidable at his option applied and was not affected by the minor's status as emancipated. 
  • The court held that an effective disaffirmance of the contract was clearly established through the minor's testimony and a letter from his attorney. 
  • The court held that the minor was not liable for misrepresentation because the trial court's finding that he had not orally represent that he was 21 was not contrary to the great weight and clear preponderance of the evidence, and no evidence was adduced to show that the minor intended to defraud the car dealership.

CONCLUSION
The court affirmed the trial court's decision that the emancipated minor was not legally responsible for a contract with the car dealership because the contract was voidable at the minor's option. The court found that an effective disaffirmance of the contract was clearly established, and that the trial court finding that the minor did not misrepresent his age was supported by sufficient evidence.

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