Halbman v. Lemke

Supreme Court of Wisconsin, 1980.

99 Wis.2d 241, 298 N.W.2d 562.

Dawson, pp. 543-547


Facts: Halbman contracted to buy a car from Lemke while Halbman was still a minor.Before he had paid off the car, it broke down and he took it in to be repaired.He didnít pay the repair bill.Lemke then endorsed the title to Halbman to try to avoid liability for repairs.Halbman returned the title and disaffirmed the contract.Halbman wanted all the money back that he had paid so far.The car stayed at the garage for a few months, then it was towed back to the Halbmansí house where it was vandalized beyond repair.Halbman sued for $1,100, the amount he had paid under the disaffirmed contract, and Lemke countersued for $150, the amount unpaid on the contract.


Issue: After having disaffirmed a contract for the purchase of an item that isnít a necessity, does Halbman have to make restitution to Lemke for damage to the vehicle that occurred before the contract was disaffirmed?


Rule: When a minor disaffirms a contract, the minor has the duty to return to the vendor as much of the consideration for the contract that he still has.


Analysis: The court basically says that Halbman canít be forced to return something that he doesnít have anymore.


Conclusion: The intermediate appellate courtís decision is affirmed.


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