This section is from the book "The Law Of Contracts", by William Herbert Page. Also available from Amazon: Commercial Contracts: A Practical Guide to Deals, Contracts, Agreements and Promises.
Whether the goods furnished to the infant may be necessaries, and whether there is any evidence tending to show that the goods were necessaries, is a question for the court to decide, and is usually treated as a question of law; whether under the circumstances of each particular case, the goods furnished were necessaries is a question of fact, and in jury cases is to be decided by the jury under proper instructions from the court.1 Therefore precedents cannot be followed rigidly, but full regard must be paid to the attending circumstances of the case under discussion, and of the case relied upon as a precedent. The general rule as to what may be necessaries is that they are "those things that are conducive and fairly proper for his comfortable support and education according to his fortune and rank. So that what would be considered necessary in one case would not be so regarded in another. The rule is entirely relative in its operation."2 While not a definite and exact rule, it cannot safely be stated more exactly, and has been repeated often.3 It follows that the infant's station in life must be regarded in determining what are necessaries.4 infant for necessaries is based on the necessity of his situation. As he must live, the law allows to anyone supplying his wants a reasonable compensation. The law implies the promise to pay from the necessity of his situation." Epperson v. Nugent, 57 Miss. 45, 47; 34 Am. Rep. 434.
1 Peters v. Fleming, 6 M. & W. 43; Ryder v. Wombell, L. R. 4 Ex. 32; McKanna v. Merry, 61 111. 177; Garr v. Haskett, 86 Ind. 373; Davis v. Caldwell, 12 Cush. (Mass.) 512; Tupper v. Caldwell, 12 Met. (Mass.) 559; 46 Am. Dee. 704; Decell v. Lewenthal, 57 Miss. 331; 34 Am. Eep. 449; Englebert v. Troxell, 40 Neb. 195; 42 Am. St. Rep. 665; 26 L. E. A. 177; 58 N. W. 852; Jordan v. Coffield, 70 N. C. 110; Johnson v. Lines, 6 Watts & S. (Pa.) 80;
40 Am. Dec. 542; Grace v. Hale, 2 Humph. (Tenn.) 27; 36 Am. Dec. 296.
2 Rivers v. Gregg, 5 Rich. Eq. (S. C.) 274, 278.
3 Hanas v. Slaney 8 Term. E. 578; Brayshaw v. Eaton, 7 Scott 183; 5 Bing. (N. C.) 231; Peters v. Fleming, 6 Mees. & W. 43; Smith-peters v. Griffin's Admr., 10 B. Mon. (Ky.) 259; Tupper v. Caldwell 12 Met. (Mass.) 559; 46 Am. Dec. 704; Epperson v. Nugent, 57 Miss. 45; 34 Am. Rep. 434.
4 Hanas v. Slaney, 8 T. E. 578; Strong v. Foote, 42 Conn. 203; Davis v. Caldwell, 12 Cush. (Mass.) 512; Rivers v. Gregg, 5 Rich. Eq (S. C.) 274; Middlebury College v. Chandler, 16 Vt. 683; 42 Am. Dec. 537.