Consider the legality of contracts entered into by minors and whether a pledge or promise to make contribution to a charity is enforceable.
The Adams family owned an old home in New Jersey that was in need of painting and some other repairs. Charlie Adams was a junior partner with a law firm and his wife, Jane Adams, worked part-time at the elementary school where their two younger children attended. One morning after dropping off the kids at school, Jane noticed painters at their house. She sent her husband a text asking if he had hired painters yet. When she learned that her husband had not hired the painters, she decided to turn around and go shopping before going back to the school.
Jason Adams (also known as Adams Jr.), the sixteen-year-old son, stayed home from school because he didn’t feel well. At 6-feet-tall and 220 pounds, Adams Jr. looks like he is in his early twenties. When the foreman rang the doorbell, he answered. The foreman said “We are here to paint your house today, is that ok?” Adams Jr. replied, “Sure, as long as I don’t have to help you.” The foreman asked him to sign some paperwork and he complied.
After the younger kids finished school for the day, the mother took them to the park and then they met Charlie for an early dinner. When the family arrived home, the painters were just finishing and the foreman asked, “So Mr. and Mrs. Munster, how does it look?” The Adams replied that they loved the color. However, the Munsters lived next door. The foreman demanded payment and reminded Adams that the gentleman inside the house gave both verbal and written approval.
Later that evening while her husband was working in his study, Jane was watching a show on the Animal Planet channel when she saw a commercial with a bunch of sad looking dogs in dirty cages. The organization urged anyone who wanted to help save the poor animals from all of the cruelty and neglect to call and make a contribution. Contributors would receive a picture of an animal they helped save along with a t-shirt. As tears welled up in her, eyes, Jane picked up the phone and pledged $5,000 to save the animals. The next morning, she regretted making the donation because she didn’t consult with her husband and he didn’t much care for dogs.
Based on the scenario, answer the following questions:
1) Was Adams Jr.’s signature on the paperwork considered a binding contract? Why or why not?
2) Should the Adams be responsible for the bill? Why or why not?
3) Would it make a difference if the Adams were on vacation in Florida? Why or why not?
4) Will the charity be able to legally enforce the pledge made by Jane Adams? If so, why might the charity choose not to enforce a lawful pledge? If not, why not?
Support your answers with examples.