Associations which do not conduct business for the purposes of profit are not partnerships but their members become liable for obligations incurred in behalf of the association within the scope of the authority of the agent attempting to create the liability. The distinction between an association which is a partnership and one which is not, is mainly in that the relation of partners to one another implies an authority in itself, whereas the liability of members of an association which is not a partnership for the acts of its officers or other members, must be determined on general principles of agency.
Becoming a member of a society in itself may involve assent to the articles of agreement or by-laws which state the purpose and nature of the association, and it is at least true that one who becomes a member of a club with stated dues thereby agrees to pay them.50 Whether this is an enforceable obligation is a question not without difficulty. A man cannot contract with himself, nor can a contract exist in which the promisor is also one of several joint promisees, or where one of several joint promisors is a promisee,51 but where the duty to pay is clear, the difficulty would probably be dealt with to-day as avoidable by proceeding in equity or by assignment to a third person of the right of the associated members.52 In this connection may be considered the obligation which a partner may be under to contribute to his partnership. liability on obligations made on tiff. Rhonds v. Fitspatrick, 166 Pa. 291, 31 Atl. 79.
49 See infra, Sec.361.
50 Raggett v. Bishop, 2 C. & P. 343 (action was brought in the name of the "Master" of the dub); Anderson v. Amidon, 114 Minn. 202, 130 N. W. 1002, 34 L. R. A. (N. S.) 647 (action was brought by an assignee of the club); cf. LaFond v. Deems, 81 N. Y. 507, where the court said that payment of dues could not be compelled.
51Hanner v. Steele, 4 Exch. 1, 1 Ames Cas. Bills ft Notes, 820 and note, p. 824; Harrah v. Jacobs, 75 Ia. 72, 39 N. W. 187, 1 L. R. A. 152; Dillenbeck v. Dygart, 907 N. Y. 303, 49 Am. Rep. 525. See also infra, Sec. 333, and Neg. Inst. Law, Sec 119, (5), infra, Sec. 1189.
52Anderson v. Amidon, 114 Minn. 202,130 N. W. 1002,34 L. R. A. (N.S.) 647.
behalf of the association with third persons are free from difficulty in principle. In so far as the obligation was created in a manner authorized by articles of agreement or by-laws, the individual members are liable; beyond that each one is liable only so far as he has personally assented to the transaction in question.53 Those who are bound are presumably bound jointly.54 Unless bound by their implied agreement when they joined an association, members are not liable for obligations unauthorized by them, though authorized by the majority of their fellow members.55