Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Webster Street Partnership, Ltd. v. Sheridan case brief

Webster Street Partnership, Ltd. v. Sheridan case brief summary
368 N.W.2d 439 (1985)

Appellant landlord challenged the order of the District Court for Douglas County (Nebraska), which found that the landlord was entitled to a money judgment against appellee tenants in the tenant's appeal of a municipal court judgment. The district court also found that the tenants were entitled to a set-off for their security deposit. The net result was a $ 3.25 judgment for the landlord.

The tenants were minors at the time that they entered into an apartment lease with the landlord. When they failed to pay their rent for the third month, the landlord advised them that they had to vacate unless they paid the rent immediately. The tenants vacated the apartment, and the landlord demanded damages of $ 630.94. The tenants' counsel responded that the tenants were minors when they signed the lease and demanded return of the security deposit.


  • The court reversed the judgment of the district court, holding that because the tenants were minors when they signed the lease, they could avoid the lease unless it was for the provision of necessaries. 
  • The court then held that the lease did not provide the tenants with necessaries, because their parents were willing to provide them shelter. 
  • The tenants disaffirmed the lease when they vacated the apartment, the court held, and the disaffirmance by the minors put an end to the contract's existence. 
  • Thus, the tenants were entitled to a return of all of the funds that they had paid under the lease including the rents that they paid and their security deposit.

The court reversed the order of the district court, which had set off the landlord's money damages against the tenant's security deposit, and remanded the case for further proceedings consistent with its opinion that the tenant's were entitled to avoid the lease.

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