Bowling v. Sperry

184 N.E.2d 901



It has been the rule in Indiana for many years that the contracts of minors are voidable and may be disaffirmed. It is not necessary that the other party be placed in status quo, nor is it necessary that the minor tender back the money or property he has received before suing for the value or possession of the money or property given by him to the adult. All such voidable contracts by a minor in regard to personal property may be avoided at any time during his minority or upon his arrival at full age.


The evidence showed that the minor was accompanied by his aunt and grandmother to the dealership and that the aunt test drove the car and loaned him money for the purchase price. After a week of driving the car, the minor noticed that it needed a certain repair and refused to pay the price quoted by the dealership to make the repair. The minor left the car on the dealership's premises and, by letter, disaffirmed the contract and demanded return of the money paid on the car. The dealership refused to return the money and in the minor's subsequent suit, judgment was rendered for the dealership.


Was there a valid contract?




On appeal, the court noted the general rule in Indiana that contracts of minors were voidable and could be disaffirmed. The court ruled that the facts that the minor was accompanied by his relatives and received a loan from an aunt did not change the rule. In so far as the agreement and sale was concerned, the court ruled, there was sufficient evidence to show that it was made between the dealership and the minor and no one else. Moreover, the court ruled, the dealership failed to carry its burden and prove that the car was necessity, within the meaning of Ind. Code § 58-102 (1961 Repl.).

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